Search Google Appliance

Information Technology

Remote Learning & Other Technology Resources for Students

Students have a growing number of resources available to them to learn, communicate, and collaborate remotely for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Across our community, UMass faculty and staff members are ready to support your success during this period of remote learning.
Disruption Resilience & Information Technologies home page

Remote Learning - Spring 2020

Your instructors will let you know how your class goals will be accomplished with online learning. They have been working with their departments, and campus instructional technology resources to continue to make learning available to you. Below are some technologies and resources commonly used at UMass Amherst. If you have difficulties fulfilling class requirements, discuss your options with your instructor.  

What To Expect

  • Your professors will contact you directly about your classes. Check your email, Moodle, or however your professors normally communicate with you for updates.
  • Your instructors may use a combination of Zoom, Moodle/Blackboard, and email to deliver your classes, enable discussions, and communicate with you and your classmates.
  • Be prepared to use Zoom, Moodle/Blackboard, Office 365, or G Suite to connect with your instructors and classmates and complete your classwork this semester. More details about these tools are available below. 
  • If your class is taught in a lab, studio, or performance space, your professor will contact you about alternative arrangements.
  • Check SPIRE for your updated registration appointment. Registration windows have been updated in light of the coronavirus. 

Technology Resources for Students

Learning Management Platforms: Moodle & Blackboard

Your courses may use Moodle or Blackboard as the platform for course content (some may have already). Learn to get around Moodle or Blackboard from:


Videoconferencing: Zoom & More

You may be asked to attend live classes using Zoom, UMass Amherst’s primary videoconferencing platform. You can also use Zoom to complete group projects, talk to your instructor, or check in with friends and family. For the best experience, you will need a device with a web camera, a good microphone, and a charger for your device. 

  • Your instructors will send you links to Zoom meetings for you to attend. For most meetings, you will not need to log in.
  • Test your audio and video before class. If you are experiencing a low bandwidth signal, shutting off your video will help. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, there are call-in number options (with international options).
  • To set up a Zoom meeting yourself, log in with your NetID and password at 
    Zoom Login | Zoom Help

Alternatively, you can also use Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts Meet, or Microsoft Teams to set up video conference calls. 


Email, Communication, Storage & Collaboration: Box, G Suite, Office 365

UMass Amherst students have a wide range of communication and collaboration tools at their disposal. Your instructor may ask you to use one or more of the following platforms. Use your NetID and password to log in. 

  • Box for securely backing up, storing, and sharing files (unlimited storage, 15 GB file size limit). Box Login | Box Help
  • Google Drive and other apps in G Suite for Education, Google’s collaboration and productivity suite for higher education, for easy collaboration and file storage (unlimited storage, 5 TB file size limit for most file types).
    UMass Amherst G Suite Login | G Suite Help 
    Note: Make sure you are in the UMass Amherst G Suite space and not your personal G Suite when storing and accessing files.  
  • Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and other apps in the Office 365 suite, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more, for group projects, chat, communication, file storage, and more. Office 365 Login | Office 365 Help

Photography, Design, Video, Web, UX & more: Adobe Creative Cloud

Students can now access Adobe Creative Cloud applications, including Photoshop, inDesign, Illustrator, and more at no cost from their home computers until the end of the semester. Learn more...

Digital Media Lab staff can answer questions related to software/remote production at dml@library.umass.edu.


Digital Access to Textbooks at No Cost

eCampus, our official university bookstore, has partnered with VitalSource to provide students with free access to digital textbooks (including most commonly used textbooks and tradebooks). To get started, visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before you can begin searching for and reading ebooks, you will need to log in or create a Bookshelf account with your official university email address.


Digital Subscriptions & Resources: NYTimes, JStor & More

You have access to a wide range of resources for remote learning through UMass Libraries, including e-journals, research guides, and more. For questions, see http://libanswers.library.umass.edu/


Get IT Help

Get your IT questions answered via email, chat, or by submitting an online help request. Disruption Resilience: Get IT Help


Learning Support: Assistive Technology Center

The UMass Assistive Technology Center (ATC) will operate remotely Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and provide access to a wide variety of software to help students, staff and faculty access courses digitally. If you are a person with a disability seeking assistance in accessing your electronic courses through Moodle or Blackboard, ATC has tools that can help.

Contact the Assistive Technology Specialist at atc@umass.edu or call 413-545-9623 to schedule a virtual meeting. ATC does not book same-day appointments.

In addition to the tools and services provided by the ATC, many vendors have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by making additional resources available. Learn more about Universal Access Technologies


Internet Connectivity: Free & Discounted Options

We recognize that not all students may have reliable Internet connectivity away from campus. Several companies including Charter, Spectrum, and Comcast have announced plans to offer free internet service for 60 days to households with students as classes are moving online amid concerns about COVID-19.  Please contact the companies at the phone numbers below directly to arrange services.

  • Charter and Spectrum - 844-488-8395
  • Comcast - 855-846-8376 for English speakers or 855-765-6995 for Spanish speakers

Students with wireless phone service may consider adding a personal hotspot to their plan in order to create their own WiFi network from a smartphone.  Most providers (e.g. Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon) offer personal hotspot service to be added to wireless plans for approximately $10 per month.

Note: UMass Amherst Information Technology cannot provide support for your home Internet connection. Steps you can take to improve Internet connectivity at home.