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Illinois State University

Top Tech Tips for Students Learning and Attending Class Online

There are many things you can do to prepare for a smooth transition to learning online, and technology tools to assist. Following are the Technology Support Center’s top tips based on questions from students.

Use Zoom to attend and participate in online classes

  • Test your microphone and camera before the first session at zoom.us/test
  • Take a Zoom test run in advance - create a trial meeting with a friend, test joining a meeting, sharing your screen, and/or muting your microphone
  • If needed, a landline phone can be used to connect to Zoom meetings
  • Make sure your computer is connected to the charger to ensure it stays powered up until the end

Step-by-step instructions are available here: Overview of Zoom

Zoom best practices and recommended meeting settings are available here:

For help with Zoom, contact the Technology Support Center at 309-438-4357 or at SupportCenter@IllinoisState.edu.

Use Microsoft Teams to collaborate with classmates, friends, and instructors virtually

  • Test your microphone and camera before starting any meetings in Teams.
  • Take a Teams test run in advance - create a new chat with a friend, add others to start a group chat, take a look at the reply options for a specific team.

Information on how to use Teams is available in Overview of Microsoft Teams.

The performance of web sites and University technology tools may be limited by the performance of your home Internet connection

  • Limit streaming and large downloads while you are attending class or doing online work
  • Computers, rather than tablets or phones, are recommended for connecting to University resources
  • Connecting via an Ethernet cable (if your laptop allows) to your home network will typically provide better performance than connecting via WiFi
  • Use an audio only connection to Zoom if video performance is faltering

More tips on optimizing your home Internet connection are available here: Connecting and Optimizing Home Internet Connection

To help pinpoint the issue, contact the Technology Support Center at 309-438-4357 or at SupportCenter@IllinoisState.edu

Be wary of suspicious emails or Internet activity

  • Phishing attacks are likely to utilize any crisis to trick you into revealing personal information
  • Never send your password in email
  • Be cautious when asked to log in with your ULID and password

More information about phishing scams is available at Overview of Phishing

Information on Zoom bombing and how to protect your meeting is available at An advisory on Zoom “Bombers” and “Raiders”

Tips on how to stay secure online from the ISU Information Security Office is available at Staying Secure while Off Campus

For help or to report suspicious activity, contact the Technology Support Center at 309-438-4357 or at SupportCenter@IllinoisState.edu

Access campus computer labs from home

  • Ensure you have a strong internet connection before attempting to connect to a virtual lab computer
  • Make sure your computer is connected to the charger to ensure it stays powered up until the end
  • When finished, logout of the computer and click disconnect to end your Citrix session
  • Do NOT save work locally to the virtual computer. It is recommended that you save all work to OneDrive.
  • Do NOT use the standard print settings as they will print to an on-campus computer lab that may be inaccessible to you. Instead, print to PDF and save it to OneDrive.

Information on the labs and other applications that can be accessed virtually are found in Virtual Computer Labs Available to Students and Virtual Applications Available to Students.

Other Resources