First Year News Feed August 21, 2020: Textbooks, Work Study & Online Tools

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

Hi ,

This week in the News Feed we have some info about textbooks and online tools, the work-study program, what to do if you missed the registration deadline, and more details on upcoming Meet Your Professors sessions. In this week’s Student Blog, Mirjana shares her experiences with online courses and her tips for effective remote learning.

Please be sure to read your Guide to First Year, follow us on Twitter and if you have questions and want to connect with us you can reach us by email or through our Live Chat service.  

You’re also welcome to book an appointment with your academic advisor through the Advising Portal (our apologies to those who were having trouble doing so recently – the issue should now be fixed!).  

Have a nice weekend,

The First Year Office Team 
(Leslie, Jennifer, Emzhei, JesusMiracle & Hannah)   

P.S. Not joining U of T Engineering? If your plans have changed, please notify our Admissions Office at  


Some of you have been asking us where and when you should buy your textbooks. Don’t worry — you’re not expected to have your books for your first classes! Your instructors will give you the course syllabus/outline on or before the first day, which will list any required books and materials.  

This year, given the Faculty’s remote access guarantee, your instructors will be using textbooks that are available in a digital format, as they are conscious that students will not necessarily be in Toronto.  

Here are some options for purchasing textbooks, though note that this is not an exhaustive list of options – your instructors may have specific suggestions for where to buy books for their courses, and upper-year students may organize used book sales (check social media for updates from upper-years in September):  

  • Engineering Stores: This non-profit store is run by students from the Engineering Society. Traditionally, students can pre-order first-year textbooks (and Skule clothing, stationery, and more) and pick them up in September, but please check their website for updates on how they are managing sales this year. 
  • Online Retailers/Other Bookstores: There are many other online retailers and booksellers out there, as well as a number of used bookstores around the St. George Campus where you can find textbooks at bargain prices – but beware, these are not affiliated with U of T, so you’ll need to check your course syllabus carefully to make sure you’re buying the right books. 
  • U of T Bookstore: This is U of T’s main campus bookstore. You can order through their website – log in with your UTORid, and the list of books specific to the courses you’re taking will be listed for you. Some used books and even book rentals may be available here. 

Online Tools

First-year engineering students use a variety of online tools and resources for their courses. We have put together this list of the most commonly-used engineering online tools that you can explore before classes start in September.  

As a U of T student, you have access to free desktop and mobile versions of the Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus suite of programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, etc.). These extremely useful programs will be available to you after you initialize your UTORid/UTmail+ account through the TCard Office


One of the most important tools you’ll use regularly is Quercus, which is U of T’s Learning Management System, an online space that you will get to know very intimately during your time as a student at U of T. Many of you have already been using Quercus if you have participated in our summer programs or if you have logged in to check out the First Year Hub info page. Once the semester begins, live online classes, lecture videos, course content, assignments, grades, and any announcements from your instructors will be posted here, so it’s wise to get familiar with it early if you have not already!   

  • You can login to Quercus with your JOINid/UTORid and password.  
  • You can browse the Student Quercus Guide in the Help section, and watch this introductory video
  • The First Year Hub on Quercus also has a “Beginner’s Guide to Quercus” section with helpful tips from an upper-year engineering student. 

We’d also remind you to review these guidelines from the University on recommended technology requirements you’ll need for your online courses this year. 

Work-Study Program
Build your skills! Apply for a Work Study position. 

The Work Study Program offers paid positions working for the University. You will work up to 200 hours and a maximum of 15 hours per week (Editor’s Note: The First Year Office recommends limiting part-time work to a maximum of 10 hours per week while you are transitioning to university). Most positions for the Fall/Winter program (September 2020 to February 2021) will be offered remotely so you can work from home and will not be required to be on campus for your shifts. Thousands of positions are available, ranging from lab/research positions to student ambassadors.   

Applications are open August 17 – September 24. Apply through the CLNx on the Work Study job board. 

Late Registration Process

Did you miss the deadline to register by paying or deferring your tuition fees on August 20? If you missed the deadline, please contact the Registrar’s Office before September 3 to remain enrolled this year.  

If you made a payment on or before August 20, it can take up to ten business days to be reflected in your ACORN invoice, so don’t worry if it’s not showing there yet, but check to make sure it updates before September 3.    

Meet Your Professors Update
As we mentioned in last week’s News Feed, Meet Your Professors is a series of online opportunities for you to interact with and get to know your first-year instructors before classes begin!  

Sessions started this week and will continue through August 28 on Bb Collaborate in the First Year Hub on Quercus. Upcoming live sessions with instructors include MAT188H1 Linear Algebra and MAT187H1: Calculus II on August 26, and MAT186 Calculus I on August 27

Check out the updated Announcements on the First Year Hub for full details, including fun introductory videos with your instructors, and the full schedule. Register online: 

The First Year Office team periodically updates our Frequently Asked Questions page, and you’re always welcome to email us or use our live chat during office hours for questions that you can’t find answers to.  

In addition, given the ongoing pandemic, there are a lot of details still being confirmed for the upcoming year which are being communicated as they are determined. Be sure to monitor your email regularly for official updates, and you should also check the following authoritative pages regularly for current information:  



First Year Office
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

University of Toronto
35 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A4


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