Since most courses are being delivered remotely through online learning, you will need access to a computer and internet at home to complete your coursework.
Recommended technology requirements
Review the minimum computer and internet-connectivity standards that will work for most remote/online classes.
Students with disabilities: Register with Access and Equity Services to learn about assistive technology that may be available to you.
Learn how to protect your data and systems against security breaches.
Types of internet connections
Not all home internet connections are the same. Learn what to consider when selecting an internet service provider (ISP), an internet connection speed (upload, download) and how to test your connection.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You may need to use our VPN to access restricted campus resources from off-campus. Our VPN provides the same level of access from home that you would have if you were using a computer on campus.
Saskatoon campus WiFi
If you are coming to the Saskatoon campus for in-person instruction, you can connect to our on-campus secure wireless network: uofs-secure.
Email and scanning
Email is the university's official means of communication. Please check your university email regularly for class updates and announcements. All USask students have an email quota of 100GB. You can access your email in multiple ways:
- Access your email via PAWS.
- Access your email via an email client.
- Access your email via office.com (login with NSID@usask.ca and password).
Your phone can be used to scan documents using the OneDrive mobile app. This is a great feature while on the go.
PAWS, Blackboard and Canvas
PAWS, your personalized access to web services at USask, is a customizable web environment used by students, faculty, staff and alumni. PAWS is where you'll access class registration, tuition and fees, scholarships and bursaries, textbooks and more.
PAWS quick tips
- Use PAWS to update your profile with the university, including your preferred name, email aliases and contact information.
- Your PAWS menu already includes content channels that are available to you based on your role at the university. Learn how to add additional channels you may be interested in.
- Choose which announcements you wish to see in your feed.
- View, print or email your class schedule for courses and labs that have set times.
Blackboard and Canvas
You may be taking courses through Canvas and/or Blackboard learning management systems. Classes in Canvas and Blackboard should be available about a month before the start of class but instructors may limit access while they prepare.
Blackboard will be phased out by August 31, 2021. If you want to save your coursework by then, be sure to review the student information about copyright web page before doing so. Course materials will remain in Canvas for up to four years after the class ends.
Instructors may record videos using Panopto for some of your classes. You can access Panopto videos from your Blackboard or Canvas course, or you can use your NSID to log into Panopto.
Access University Library electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books) from home.
Software and applications
As a USask student, you have access to a variety of software that you can install on your personal computer for free or at a reduced cost. Some of the software is also available for use through our Virtual Computer Lab (VLab).
Unless otherwise noted, we can not help install this software on your personal computer.
Software with free student licenses
|Autodesk (multiple programs)||Many computer-aided-design and modelling packages including AutoCAD, Maya, etc.||Info/install||Free or paid versions available|
|ESRI ArcGIS/ArcMAP||Software for spatial data analysis||Info/install||Requires VirtualBox or VMware|
|Microsoft Office365||Microsoft productivity tools - MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint||Info/install|
|QSR NVivo||Data management/analysis tool||Info/install||Must fill in form to request a license|
|R/RStudio||Statistical computing language||Info/install||Free or paid versions available|
|SAS University Edition||Statistical analysis package||Info/install||Requires VirtualBox or VMware|
|SketchUp||3d Modelling/Design||Info/install||Requires signup on website|
|IBM SPSS||Statistical analysis package||Info/install||14 day free trial available|
|MathCAD Express||Mathematical worksheet||Info/install||30 day trial for MathCAD full features|
Software with reduced-cost student licenses
This software is available to current students for a reduced cost compared to regular pricing.
|Adobe Creative Cloud Suite||Graphics and video design tools||Info/purchase||$29.03/month|
|Endnote||Bibliographic management tool||Info/purchase||$99.00|
|MiniTab||Statistical analysis package||Info/purchase||$43.55 for 6 months|
* Costs may change - costs are current as of March 19, 2020.
The Microsoft Advantage program allows USask students to install and use the latest desktop versions of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac on up to five devices such as computers or laptops (in addition to five tablets and five mobile devices) for the duration of their time as a student.
Virtual Computer Lab (vlab.usask.ca) enables students to access applications from their personal laptop, computer or portable device (e.g. iPad) from home. VLab saves all work to your Cabinet drive.
|ArcGIS||Geographical information systems (Mapping)|
|Mathematica||Symbolic and numeric math package|
|MATLAB||Numerical mathematics package|
|Origin||Professional-quality graphic package for analysing and plotting research data in a multitude of formats|
|NVIVO||Qualitative statistical package|
|R||The R Project for Statistical Computing, including RStudio|
|SPSS||Statistical package for the social sciences|
USask students have access to 1TB of free personal cloud storage through OneDrive for Students offered as part of your Microsoft 365 account. Microsoft OneDrive keeps your files backed up, protected, synced, and accessible on all your devices. You can share files with one or more people either via email or through a link. You can also determine if you want other people to be able to edit your OneDrive files or just view them.
Cabinet was the personal file storage system used at the university prior to the implementation of OneDrive. Each student can still access their Cabinet account, however we strongly encourage using OneDrive instead, as it gives you access to a larger storage quota and makes sharing files and folders much easier.