Tips and Troubleshooting for Students

This page provides tips for optimizing the remote learning experience and offers troubleshooting steps students can take to resolve common technical issues.

Please also check our Systems Status Page to see if an issue is due to a system being temporarily down.

Device Connection and Security

Use the best internet connection available.

  • A wired (Ethernet) connection is usually faster and more reliable than a wireless (WiFi) connection.

  • A wireless (WiFi) connection is usually faster and more reliable than a cellular (3G/4G/LTE) connection.

  • For a list of low cost internet services, click here.

Maintain the security of Desktop and Laptop Computers:

  • For personal devices, security is in the hands of the user. Personal systems should be:
    • current with all operating system updates,
    • running an active anti-virus program,
    • periodically scanning for and removing spyware, and
    • using a local desktop firewall.
  • Further instructions and recommended apps can be found in System Health Requirements.
  • For systems owned by the university, device health requirements are enforced automatically through Active Directory group policy.

Make sure you have the necessary software for classes:

  • For your personal device, you can view and download software here.
  • Software on SPU-managed computers is maintained by the Technology Support Services team in CIS.
  • Your instructor or program may require additional software. If so - they will provide you with further information.

Internet Browsers

Try a different web browser.

  • If there are issues accessing a site or slowed performance, attempt to access the same resource in a different browser.

    • Example: Switching from Chrome to Firefox to access Canvas.
  • If the issue is resolved by using a different browser, the problem is isolated to the initial browser. See below for information on resolving browser issues.

Clear your cache and/or reset your browser.

  • Issues isolated to a single browser may be related to a full cache or need to reset.

  • Click here for a web browser troubleshooting guide.

Add SPU resources as trusted sites.

If the issue persists in a different browser, after adding trusted SPU sites, or after clearing cache/reset - the problem may be caused by a resource being temporarily down (check here to check), an issue with your account for that resource, or your internet speed being impacted. Please contact the CIS HelpDesk for assistance (206.281.2982,, Submit a Ticket).

Internet Performance

CIS HelpDesk and ETM cannot directly assist with issues related to home WiFi performance issues. The suggestions listed in this section are actions you can take that may help address these issues.

Below are potential causes of slow internet performance:

  • Your WiFi
  • Your home Internet Service Provider (ISP) service speed
  • Your ISP's network
  • The websites you're trying to access
  • Other people using the same WiFi

Follow the below steps to diagnose and improve performance issues:

  • Complete a speed test and compare the results to what your ISP states they should be.
  • Take inventory of internet usage on your household.
    • Are there other people on the same WiFi streaming music/videos or gaming online? If possible, have them pause and run the speed test again.
    • If there is improvement, consider coordinating internet usage in your household to allow you to take advantage of the fastest speed available.
  • Disconnect devices that do not need to be connected to the internet.
    • Example: Taking your cell phone off WiFi while attending class via your laptop.
  • Move closer to your router and run the speed test again.
    • If there is improvement, there could be issues with coverage and you may need to work closer to the router.

Virtual Classes and Meetings

It is highly recommended all students complete the self-paced course "Student Essentials for Remote Learning." This course is accessible in all students' Canvas site and is a tutorial designed to help you prepare for successful remote learning at SPU.

General Tip:

  • When taking an exam or participating in a webinar, plan to do so in a place you've used before for online classes.


  • New to Canvas? Review the Students section on SPU's Learn Canvas page.
  • Google Chrome is the recommended browser for Canvas, but it will work in other browsers as well.
  • If you have difficulty logging in to Canvas, follow the troubleshooting instructions here.
  • If you have specific issues within your Canvas course, work with your professor first to resolve them. Your professor will connect with ETM or CIS as needed, to resolve issues.


  • New to Zoom? Check out this page for a general overview of the tool and features.
  • Ensure your system meets the basic requirements for running Zoom:
    • Internet Connection (Broadband wired or wireless) - 3G or 4G/LTE
    • An internal, external, or Bluetooth, microphone and speakers
    • An internal or external webcam
    • An HD cam or HD camcorder with video capture card
  • Zoom recommends internet upload and download speeds of at least 1.5 mbps. 
  • Apply these tips for optimizing your Zoom connection.
  • Reference these selected articles from Zoom:


  • Your professor(s) may require a video presentation recorded using Panopto.
  • Please take advantage of Panopto's training video library to familiarize yourself with the tool.
  • If you have specific issues using your Panopto account, first ensure Panopto is added as a trusted site, and work with your professor to resolve them. Your professor will connect with ETM or CIS as needed.


  • Your professor(s) may require exams in Canvas to be proctored using Respondus. 
    • If your professor requires Respondus Monitor to be used, ensure that you have a functioning webcam on your computer.
  • If you need help, refer to the instructions and frequently asked questions for Respondus in the Library Tech Wiki
  • During exams, Respondus is available for 24/7 technical support. Just click on the "Need Help" button that is available in the app. 

Office 365

As a current student at SPU, you have access to Microsoft Office 365 for Education. This includes webmail, online file storage and sharing, plus access to mobile Office Suite apps over the internet.

You can easily create, edit and share documents online:

  • Go to and sign in with your SPU credentials. 
  • An extensive library of training videos and resources can be found here.
  • If you have trouble signing into Office 365:
    • Make sure you are using your correct SPU email address and password.
    • Try signing in on a different browser.
    • If you are still unable to sign in to Office 365, contact the CIS HelpDesk (206.281.2982,, Submit a Ticket).

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