Accessing coursework

Now that the university campus buildings are closed and all courses have shifted to remote delivery, you will need access to a computer and internet at home to take advantage of the university's remote learning resources. If you don't have access to a computer, alternative arrangements may be made with your instructor in order to complete your coursework. Please contact your instructor directly for information on alternative arrangements.

If you don't have access to the internet in your home, a phone with data may be used as a personal hotspot. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many carriers are waiving data overages or offering reduced pricing for certain plans. Please check with your carrier for more information.

Recommended technology requirements

Review the minimum computer/laptop and internet connectivity standards for remote/online learning that will work for most USask classes.

Software and applications

Installing software with student licenses

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.

Unless otherwise noted, ICT can not provide assistance with installing this software on your personal computer.

Software with free student licenses

Software Description Information
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 Free licenses available for students until June 15, 2020
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.

Software Description Information
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.

Specialized software for coursework

Virtual Computer Lab (VLab) enables you to access specialized software (if needed for your class) installed on campus computers from your personal laptop, computer or portable device (e.g. iPad) from home.

The application software runs on the USask server and only the keyboard, mouse and video is transmitted over the network (audio is not available).

Currently, the following applications are available via the USask Virtual Computer Lab:

  • ArcGIS - geographical information systems (Mapping)
  • Mathematica - symbolic and numeric math package
  • MATLAB - numerical mathematics package
  • NVIVO - qualitative statistical package
  • OpenOffice - productivity software (Word Processor, spreadsheet, drawing, database)
  • PHREEQC - geochemical modelling package
  • R - The R Project for Statistical Computing, including RStudio
  • SPSS - statistical package for the social sciences
  • Stata - Statistics Package

Scanning coursework

Scanning handwritten assignments with your phone to create pdf documents

There may be times when you need to submit handwritten coursework. All students have access to OneDrive. Learn how to use the OneDrive mobile app to scan documents with a phone's camera.


Video chat and share your screen with one or more classmates from your PC, Mac or mobile device

Similar to popular online services, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, USask has licensed WebEx to enable you to:

  • Present or attend at a course or meetings with individuals, small groups
  • Collaborate using shared chat, whiteboard and screen sharing
  • Markup and collaborate on shared documents

We realize that many of you use Zoom for web conferencing. Please note that USask does not have institutional licenses for Zoom, and we are unable to support it.


(Course Tools)

Getting started

Blackboard is not always mobile-friendly. If you are having trouble accessing your course work, connect directly with your instructor. Try to do most of your coursework online with the tools available through USask. In the event you have handwritten coursework that you need to return to your instructor, use a scanner app to scan and email your documents.

Discussions and groups



Your professors have been given a variety of options to adapt your final exams or assessments given this rapid move to remote instruction. Where possible, they have been asked to move to assignments and open book exams with a timeframe of at least 24 hours to adapt for possible wireless disruptions.

Completing exams in Blackboard

In rare instances, a timed Blackboard exam may be required, and there are some things you can do to make it more likely the process will be successful.

Before the exam:

  • Make sure you have the exam time correct and possible changes to the correct time zone
  • When possible, use a wired network connection
  • Use a computer - not a mobile device or tablet
  • Restart your computer to make sure you are starting fresh

During the exam:

  • Only run the programs necessary for your exam, close down other apps and windows
  • Don't use the mouse scroll wheel to move up and down in the test because that might change the selected answer on a question
  • Record the answers offline in case something goes wrong
  • When taking the exam always hit "Save Answer", don't rely on the automatic save feature
  • When you hit "Save Answer" verify the button changes to "Saved"

Recovery procedures:

  • If you experience any issues while writing the exam record all your answers offline and contact your instructor right away

Academic support

Library and learning support

University Library Online - Visit this page for ongoing updates about online learning and academic support services during the library closure.

Get help

Find resources

  • Library Resources - Online resources are available 24/7. Make sure you're logged into the library's website first using your NSID and password. We have many tools available to make this as easy as possible.
  • Study Resources - Develop strategies needed for online learning.
  • Writing Help Resources - Review links to writing guides and resources, watch workshop recordings, and learn about citation.
  • Math and Stats Help Resources - Review links to a variety of math and stats resources.


Get information on course materials for the upcoming terms

IT support

Help and documentation

If you are having trouble accessing any USask online resource, we are here to help. You will find help and documentation for some of the most common software you will use. If you can't find what you are looking for, please visit the IT Support portal for assistance.


For more information about changes to academic procedures related to your classes, exams and class registration due to COVID-19, please visit