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Classroom & Course Issues

I don't know what to call my professor.
Check the course outline to see the name and title your professor uses. If in doubt, use Dr. or professor; do not use Mr., Miss, Ms., or Miss (unless they tell you to). You can also ask; most professors prefer first names in upper level courses, but some prefer more formality in large first-year courses.


My professor has office hours twice a week but I have classes at both those times.
Those are the times your professor guarantees to be there for your class, but they may be available at other times. Email and ask to set up an appointment. You can find their email address on the course outline or visit Be polite; indicate what days and times you are available and why you want to meet.


My prof has not replied to my emails and I have an important question.
Visit during his or her office hours and ask the question; sometimes profs post phone numbers for emergencies and if it is really urgent, you can call. 

Send a polite email reminder if you get no response after 48 hours, or if the situation is truly urgent.


I fail a test or I fail an important assignment.
Talk to your professor and ask to review your test or assignment together. Ask how you can improve next time.

Look into getting a tutor early in the semester by contacting the Student Success Centre. You can also make an appointment with a learning strategist to get help with study skills and exam preparations.

Get advice from your Faculty academic advisor regarding your academic options especially if you are considering dropping the course. They will be able to tell you how it may affect your program.

Ask your professor if you can do an extra assignment to try to make up some marks. (Note: this is usually impossible but may be worth a try!)


I study constantly but am still having trouble in a course.
It can be very frustrating to put in time and still not do well. Talk to your professor to see if there is something you are missing. You could also try to get a tutor (either free or paid) or form a study group with other students in your class.

The Student Success Centre has a learning strategist who can help you with study skills and exam preparation. They also arrange one-on-one or group tutoring sessions where possible. Contact the Student Success Centre at


I receive a bad grade on my first writing assignment.
Ask the instructor or prof where you went wrong and how you could have improved your assignment. If you have a grading rubric or chart for the course, review it with your instructor or a learning strategist.

Contact a librarian for help on how to research a topic and how to do proper citations.  You can go to the library in person, or ask questions via text, email, IM or phone.

Make an appointment with the Writing Centre to get help on improving your writing skills. Consider taking Writing 1000 Introduction to Academic Writing if it fits in your program.


I don't know if there's a final exam in my course, and if there is, when it is scheduled.
Check the course syllabus or outline; many professors will have one on Moodle. Ask your professor. If you ask in class, then everyone will have the answer.

You can also check the official exam schedule for final exams scheduled during the official exam period. The final exam schedule is available under Courses & Exams in Services for Students link under the Resources tab on the main home page. or


I'm on a team for a project and one team member is not meeting his/her obligations.
Assign that person a specific task to do and provide a fixed deadline. 

Have one member of the team talk to the person in private to ask if there are external factors affecting their ability to complete their work. Explain the problem and how it is affecting you, the group and the project. Reinforce the importance of each member in creating a successful team and project result.

If the problem persists, talk to your professor/tutor/teaching assistant about the issue.


My prof specifically asks for a paper copy of my essay (not an electronic version) and I am unable to bring a copy to class on the due date.
Finish your paper and deliver it to your prof early, either in the class prior to the deadline or during office hours. You can also take it to your professor's department office and ask the admin person to date-stamp it for you and put it in the professor's mailbox. Check the course outline or the campus directory ( for the location of your professor’s department office.


There are always people talking around me in class and I can't hear the professor.
This is a frustrating problem for both students and professors. Your first move is to politely ask the students to stop or to move to a seat near the front of class. If that doesn't work, let your professor know, either in person or via email. It is then up to the professor to deal with the issue.


I have classes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no lunch break.  Can I eat in class?
Most professors won't mind if you eat in class providing your food is not messy, noisy or smelly. If you have a specific reason you need to eat in class, let your professor know (e.g., low blood sugar/hypoglycemia).


I'm always late for history because the class I have right before is at the other end of campus and my professor always keeps us late.
Talk to the professor who is keeping you late and explain your following class is at other end of campus so you need to leave promptly.  

Also speak to the professor of your following class and explain your situation. When you are late to a class, try to enter quietly and not disrupt the lecture or your fellow students.