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New to Online Learning?

You’ll be up to speed and ready for your first online course with these tips and tools. 

Get familiar with Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn is the online virtual learning platform which hosts all WSU online courses. Explore a sample course space at Select “Non-WSU sign-in Here” and log in with:

  • Username: wsustudent
  • Password: wsustudent

Also visit Blackboard Learn’s YouTube channel, for quick how-to videos for students.  

Before your course begins, ensure that your computer is equipped

You’ll need regular access to a computer with Internet access. You should also have a backup plan should your primary computer become unavailable.

Internet connectionCable Internet or DSL recommended
Windows Operating System minimum requirements
  • Windows 7
  • 800-MHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
Windows browser requirementsDownload the most recent version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or Safari (free downloads)

Note: Please ensure that all popup blockers are configured to accept popups from, or disable them.
Macintosh Operating System minimum requirements
  • Mac OS X 10.6
  • Intel Core™ Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
Macintosh browser requirementsDownload the most recent version of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari (free downloads)

Note: Please ensure that all popup blockers are configured to accept popups from, or disable them.
Media hardwareDVD player
Media software
You may also need any of the following players*When using RealPlayer, firewalls might cause problems that require reconfiguring settings. If you are connecting to the Internet via AOL, MSN, Earthlink, Sympatico, Mindspring, Netcom, Sprynet, Compuserve, Prodigy Internet, or another common internet service provider (ISP), you should not need to configure RealPlayer for use with a firewall.
Download speedPerform the speed test to ensure you’ll be able to view course videos and other media successfully. The speed test checks the average download speed on your computer.

If you have questions, contact WSU Online Support at 800-222-4978 or send an email to

Top tips for success

  • If this is your first online course, access the online environment as soon as possible. This will give you some time to familiarize yourself with the online format and work through any technical problems.
  • Take the time to introduce yourself to your instructor. You’ll be able to do this in the course space.
  • Log in to your courses every day, just as if you were attending class on campus. By logging in on a daily basis you’ll have the opportunity to participate in discussions and you won’t miss notifications from your instructor.
  • Follow the course schedule and syllabus, and create a personal calendar with all required activities and due dates listed, so you won’t miss a deadline.
  • Focus on first things first. It helps to take assignments one at a time.
  • Read the assignments before completing assigned readings, so you’ll have the requirements for the assignment in mind while you’re processing the information.
  • Determine if evaluation criteria apply (e.g. learning rubrics), and use those guidelines when completing assignments.
  • Write your posts offline as Word documents, and use spell check.
  • Avoid procrastinating and complete assignments on time. Students who post their answers online early have the best chance of getting corrective feedback, both from the instructor and from their classmates.

Utilize the Virtual Mentor in your course

Many courses have a Virtual Mentor (VM) who can help you navigate the online course space. VMs assist with logistical/technical issues, provide tips and resources for success, and offer clarification and guidance in non-content related areas. Virtual Mentors are not instructors or teaching assistants.

Most VMs are Global Campus alumni, and have a lot of experience with online learning at WSU. If your course has a VM, look for the VM forum and take advantage of their expertise. 

Take advantage of available resources

Here’s a quick list of resources that online students find helpful.

  • eTutoring: WSU students have access to free unlimited online tutoring through eTutoring. Sign up and find out what eTutoring has to offer so you’ll get help quickly when you need it.
  • WSU Libraries: The WSU Libraries staff and librarians are ready to help you find what you need for your assignment, and provide online access to databases, research tips, reference assistance, free book delivery, and more.
  • Cougar Success website: Get tips on time management, productivity, goal making, and more. Bookmark this website and stay on track to be the best you can be.
  • Wellbeing Online: This website is dedicated to helping students develop skills that foster a happy, balanced life by taking a holistic approach to healthy living.

24/7 tech support

Technical support is available to students 24/7. A technical support staff person will attempt to solve your problem or direct your help request to the appropriate person. Staff are NOT able to answer questions about course content or procedures (e.g., assignments, grades).

  • Call direct, 509-335-4320, or 800-222-4978. Select 2, then 1.
  •  Email and a tech support staff person will respond to your concerns within 24 hours.