First-year engineering questions answered

Jul 15th, 2020


First-year engineering questions answered


During today's Ask Me Live Studio Session, the faculty's dean, Dr. Greg Naterer, and student liaison officer, Cheryl Keough, answered questions regarding first-year engineering studies.
Some of the questions and answers are captured below.
If you have a question that isn't listed below, email:

How should new students prepare for their studies in the fall?


  • Get rested and refreshed this summer
  • Review and become familiar with the technology requirements.  Make sure you have what is needed (including PC or Mac with camera, high-speed Internet access), and make sure it works. 
  • Take advantage of resources such as MUN101 and Engineering Orientation.
  • Check your MUN email regularly this summer as well as once you begin as a student.
  • After registration get your science safety courses complete as well as the integrity course (before classes begin).
  • Prepare your study space, making sure it is as private and quiet as possible.  Try to set up a home office that is your dedicated study space. 
  • Make sure your background in Math, Physics and Chemistry is as strong as possible.  Use any resources that you can, to do self-study of the material that you were supposed to cover in Grade 12.  If you are going into Math 1001 and skipping the first calculus course, for example, find out what’s in the Math 1000 curriculum and assess your capability in that area.
  • Find the social media sites for the Student Success Centre, led by Adrian Dobre.  Join those social media groups for important communications throughout the term.
  • Remember the name Cheryl Keough – Student Liaison officer.  She is the expert on planning your courses and getting you the help you need.

How can students who are learning online connect with each other within your faculty/school? 

  • The Engineering Student Society has already opened a Class of 2025 Facebook page.  The Student Society is dedicated to helping and connecting students, and will be very visible in your life as an Engineering student.  The Society can provide assistance and advice in dealing with faculty, workloads, work terms, etc.
  • Over 250 mentors have been signed up by MUN Student Life to help with the transition from high school – see MUN101 for information on this program, and on other ways to get involved.
  • It will be harder than normal to connect during the pandemic situation.  Student groups in courses such as engineering design, are one of the best ways to make new connections.  Instructors may not let you form groups with friends or people from your home country.  Be open to making connections outside your traditional high school group. 

 How are you preparing for online learning in the Fall? 

  • Our first-year instructors are a team that works closely together, staying on top of best practices in online instruction.  As a faculty, we began offering full online courses in the summer, so we have experience in this area.  The Student Success Centre will be supporting students through virtual tutorial meetings. 
  • First-year faculty members will have course web pages, and will deliver a combination of “live” lectures and virtual office hours.  Lectures will be recorded for later review.  We have already developed online activities to replace some hands-on lab activities.  

What kinds of supports are you offering new students during the pandemic? 

  • Orientation is being reimagined, and will be a completely different experience due to the pandemic.  Engineering will have its own orientation materials, in addition to what is being offered by the office of Student Life.
  • Cheryl Keough, the Student Liaison Officer, will be able to meet people online and deliver the same quality of service as before. 
  • Our Student Success Centre has also moved online.  Supplemental Instruction will be offered in the most challenging courses.
  • Dr. Dennis Peters, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies; and Dr. Geoff Rideout, Director of First Year, are eager to discuss the program, the profession, and any challenges or issues you encounter.

 What makes for a successful first year within your faculty/school?

  • Becoming accustomed to the workload and pace of instruction, establishing good time management, making friends with other students, feeling like you are part of a community.
  • Excitement about becoming an engineer, and gaining an understanding of how engineers can positively impact society.
  • Establishing a strong foundation of fundamental knowledge so you will thrive in your department of choice, starting in second year.
  • Finding new and unexpected things that excite you.  You might find these things through courses, new friends, or extra-curricular activities.
  • Attending all “live” lectures, getting into the habit of focusing your attention on a certain topic at a certain time – even if the lectures are recorded for later viewing. 

If there was one thing you would like all your first-year students to know what would it be? 

  • The program is challenging.  It is normal to need help, but you may not be accustomed to needing help with academics or other aspects of your life.  Remember that you are not alone.  There are many people and organizations to help you.  You just have to reach out and take advantage. 

How do I get help with my academics online? 

  • Visit the Student Success Centre. 
  • Engineering has a unique program called Supplemental Instruction, which will coach you to thrive in historically high-risk courses.  This program is run through the Success Centre, and your instructors will inform you of this.

What platform will my classes be hosted on? 

  • First-year courses offered by the Engineering faculty will use the Brightspace learning system.  Go into, Student Main Menu, and you will see at the top a login to your Online Learning.  When you log in there, your courses are listed and you can then access the Brightspace shells.

How are labs going to be completed online? (Lab-offering faculties only)

  • Normally there are several hands-on activities that are offered to expose you to interesting and important engineering skills.  Some of these will be replaced by YouTube videos in the short term.  When students return to campus, you will have the opportunity to complete these activities for real.
  • Engineering first-year labs in electrical circuits will be replaced by virtual experiments, using an online circuit simulator. 
  • In the programming course, you will learn how to make sensors and computers communicate with each other, and design devices such as motion sensors and high temperature alarms.  You will purchase sensors and other hardware as a kit, much like you would purchase a textbook for a course.  The lab instruction, and meetings with lab instructors, will take place online.




Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000