Moving to all online classes during the COVID-19 crisis may seem overwhelming at first, but the entire FSU community is here to support you. At FSU, we've been teaching online and distance learning classes for many years. Our seasoned faculty, librarians, technical and instructional support staff, and distance learning experts are committed to helping you succeed online. The tools and tips you find here will not only help you stay connected to your instructors, classmates, and friends, they'll help you maximize learning at a distance.
Make sure you can get around in Canvas: Read Tips for a Better Canvas Experience.
First, make sure you have the basic hardware and software needed to learn online:
- laptop or desktop computer with the latest operating system installed,
- a reliable, high-speed internet connection like DSL, cable, or WiFi,
- latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome,
- virus protection software,
- headphones, a microphone, and a webcam (recommended), and
- additional hardware and software as requested by your instructor.
Students experiencing financial hardship related to acquiring the appropriate technology should contact Case Management Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. For free and discounted WiFi, check out the ITS Free and Discounted WiFi Options page.
Essential Tools, Helpful Apps & Cybersecurity
Next, get acquainted with the tools you need to learn online. Click on the links below for more information, and don't forget your FSUID and password. You'll need them to access most tools and applications featured.
Need help getting internet? You've got options, from Eduroam's free WiFi spots to free or discounted offers from local internet service providers.
Access your online course content, interact with your instructors, get assignments, and participate in discussion boards.
Participate in live classroom sessions, collaborate with classmates, and meet virtually with your instructor.
Get easy access to dozens of university resources like Canvas, Student Central, and To-Do list items.
Check your official FSU email daily for the latest updates and announcements about programs and operations.
Access free, online versions of apps like Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and more. Once signed in, click the app launcher icon in the top-left corner.
Sign into Adobe Creative Cloud with your @my.fsu.edu student email and password for free access to Photoshop, Illustrator, and more (available through May 31, 2020).
Install a temporary version of SPSS statistical software on your computer (available through June 30, 2020).
Regardless of where you are, get free, 24/7 access to the same applications available in campus computer labs, like SPSS and MATLAB.
Share group reports, presentations, and other temporary files with FSU Dropbox, where files remain available for up to 20 days.
Store documents in the cloud and collaborate and edit documents in real time with classmates. Once signed in, click the app launcher icon in the top-left corner.
Watch online video tutorials to help you master new software required for online learning.
Beware of Scammers
As much of our daily lives moves online, we're sure to see an increase in phishing attempts and online scams. Keep practicing strong cybersecurity practices and stay alert.
- Think before you click links in emails or online
- Never share your password with anyone
- Lock your computer when you are not using it
- Don’t fall for online job offers that sound too good to be true
- Report phishing emails by forwarding them to email@example.com
Find more cybersecurity dos and don’ts on the ITS website.
Learning online can offer great flexibility, but it's a different experience than the face-to-face classroom. Don't underestimate the need to stay organized and plan your time wisely. Getting a handle on a few skills will make your online learning experience more successful.
Know the habits and expectations you need to have a successful online experience. Learning online will take motivation, self-direction, and a realistic knowledge of your personal learning preferences and abilities. We highly recommend enrolling in the self-paced Learning Online @ FSU course in Canvas. It's non-credit bearing and full of information to help you succeed in the online learning environment.
Regardless of your location, you can access library resources remotely. You'll find databases, tutorials, workshops, and other helpful resources in the FSU Libraries for Students Canvas org site (all students are enrolled automatically). For recommended research resources and ways to connect with your librarians, look for "Library Tools" in your Canvas course navigation.
Need online learning accommodations, like assistive technology or accommodated testing? Contact the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), formerly the Student Disability Resource Center, and don't forget to work with your instructors to make sure they're aware of your registered accommodations.
In addition to the strategies above, make sure you communicate while learning online. If you have problems with technology or health, let your teachers know as soon as possible. Pay attention to your course syllabus and announcements from your instructor. We all want you to be successful, and attending your online classes and communicating when you're struggling is an essential component of that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to many questions about academics, student life, travel, and general information on COVID-19 can be found on the Coronavirus FAQ page. You may also be having questions specific to online learning, and a few of those are addressed below:
What services are still available during the transition to online teaching?
The university remains operational during the COVID-19 closure. Faculty, staff, and administrators who are not on campus are working remotely to provide the services you need to continue learning. We've got a broad range of support services available even during this time of remote learning. Visit our FSU Distance Campus page for a directory of services.
What if I get sick and am not able to continue my classes online?
If you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, let your instructors know as soon as possible. If you need help understanding symptoms or procedures to protect yourself, you can find more information on FSU's Coronavirus Student Resources and FAQ pages.
What do I do if I don't have access to a computer or internet?
Students experiencing financial hardship related to acquiring the appropriate technology, should contact Case Management Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. For free and discounted WiFi, check out the ITS Free and Discounted WiFi Options page.
What happens to my accommodations with the shift to online learning?
If you're registered with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), formerly the Student Disability Resource Center, and have questions about any of your accommodations, we encourage you to work with your instructors to make sure they're aware of your accommodations and to contact OAS for further assistance.
Will my classes meet at the same time as they have before COVID-19?
Each faculty member will decide how to approach the class meetings for the rest of the semester. You should get an email or notification from Canvas about your instructor's plan. If you don't, be proactive and email your instructor. Some teachers may choose to keep the current schedule - so if you meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-4:15, you'll still meet at that time using a web conferencing tool like Zoom. Some of your teachers may switch to asynchronous instruction - this is when you don't have to meet together at a certain time but you do have to meet deadlines across the week. Your teacher will post your course material, activities, and assignments in the Canvas course site.
How do I get library services when off campus?
While classes transition online due to concerns about COVID-19, students can access most resources and many services using the library website. Visit the FSU Libraries Off Campus Access page for information on accessing databases, articles, journals, eBooks, and other services. The FSU Libraries regularly post updates in response to COVID-19, and we encourage you to visit their COVID-19 Updates and Resources page.
How do I access LinkedIn Learning content?
If your instructor has added LinkedIn Learning content to your Canvas course, you'll be able to find the LinkedIn Learning content within your Canvas course site. It's most likely in a Module in your Canvas course. If you have trouble finding the content, please contact your instructor to clarify where the LinkedIn Learning content is located.
If your instructor has not added any LinkedIn Learning content to your Canvas course, don’t worry – you can still access LinkedIn Learning resources. Simply go to FSU’s LinkedIn Learning page, click the “sign in” button, and log in with your FSU credentials.
How do assignments, tests, and final exams work now that we're online?
For assignments that are usually submitted in the classroom, instructors might choose to use the Assignments feature in Canvas for turning in assignments online. Other assignments like PowerPoint presentations, interviews, role plays, and performances that are traditionally presented in the classroom, will be arranged by your individual instructors. Some may be shared and presented in Zoom meetings, while others may be recorded and turned in via the Canvas Assignment link. Watch for your instructor's announcements, including information on proctored testing (if required). See the Proctored Testing page for more information on proctored testing during the COVID-19 closure.
How do I get tutoring services during the transition to online learning?
What do I do if I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
The University Counseling Center is available with mental health resources, a mental health screening tool, and a 24-hour crisis hotline. The Student Resilience Project is an online, research-informed toolkit that can help you manage stress in healthy ways during this time.
Stay in the know.
Keep up with the latest campus announcements on COVID-19 from FSU News.