Technology Resources for Students

About the guide

This guide will help students prepare to work remotely and interact with their course content, classmates and instructors using remote modalities.

Topics this guide covers:

How to Get Help

Academic Technology 

Students may contact AT for assistance with teaching and learning tools. AT Services is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 5:00 p.m.


Setting up technology for learning

  • Know your SF State email

    • You will use your SF State email to log in and access a variety of remote technologies

    • Important information from the campus and your instructors will be sent to your official SF State email account - be sure to check it regularly!
      • Log into email by navigating to Outlook and entering your SF State email
  • Know your SF State password
    • If you do not know your password or have it saved on your devices, you may want to reset your password and keep it safe

Requesting Loaner Laptops

Requesting laptops:
To request a laptop, please use this form.


    • A computing device with internet access such as a desktop or laptop computer OR a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet

      • See section below on connectivity and internet access for more information on internet requirements and recommendations
    • A microphone (instructors may require students to participate in courses verbally)
    • Speakers or headphones


    • Use a laptop running Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 (or above)

      • Rationale: Laptops generally have all of the necessary equipment built-in, including microphones, webcams and speakers. A laptop running a supported version of Windows or macOS will provide the best compatibility with software and websites students are required to use in courses.
    • Webcam (integrated with laptop or USB accessory)
      • Rationale: If your computer does not have a camera built-in, an external USB webcam will provide camera functionality for cases when instructors may ask students to show video in live sessions or for video recorded assignments such as speeches and presentations. Many USB webcams also have microphones built-in with slightly better quality than the ones built-in to a  computer.

    Best practices and tips:

    • iPads and devices running ChromeOS are not recommended as a full computer replacement as they may not be compatible with software required to complete course work
    • Keep your computer's operating system and the browsers and applications you use up-to-date to ensure continued access to campus resources such as Canvas and Zoom

    SF State students requiring internet access in their place of residence during remote instruction and operation periods can refer to our list of resources to assist with securing an internet connection. 

    View Internet access resources

    Campus technology tools and services

    Canvas is a web-based learning management system, or LMS. It is used by learning institutions, educators, and students to access and manage online course learning materials and communicate about skill development and learning achievement. 


    Related support documents:

    SF State uses the Zoom web and video conferencing application. Zoom provides high quality, real-time video, voice, chat, and other collaboration options for faculty, students and staff.

    Note: You do not need an account to join a meeting, only to start one. Participants can simply select the meeting link to join a session without logging in.

    Related Support Documents:

    Labspace provides students and faculty anytime, anywhere access to software applications.  Popular titles such as SPSS, SAS, Mathematica, MATLAB, ArcGIS, and Microsoft Office are available. For students, this means they can access software used in their courses from home, a coffee shop, or anywhere they have a computer and internet connection. Contact your instructor to request access for your class.

    Related Support Documents:

    Students enrolled full-time or part-time in a degree granting program at San Francisco State University (i.e., matriculating students) are eligible for a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 Education for Students.

    Students enrolled full-time or part-time in a degree granting program at San Francisco State University (i.e., matriculating students) are eligible for a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 Education for Students.

    Box at SF State is a cloud-based, collaborative storage service used to share documents with employees, students and non-SF State individuals. The service permits syncing files between devices and provides access to files from many mobile devices.

    Related Support Documents:

    Remote learning tips and best practices

    • Stay connected

      • If you enjoy collaboration, set up group study sessions or chats via Zoom
      • Communicate regularly with your instructors, classmates, support personnel, advisors, etc.
    • Stick to a schedule
      • Reserve specific blocks of time in your daily schedule for attending online sessions and completing readings and assignments, and remember that instructors may schedule virtual meetings and discussions
      • Remote modalities often require extra mindfulness to keep track of deadlines
    • Mimic the classroom learning experience
      • Continue to take notes as you would if you were there in person
      • Turn off notifications or silence your devices, and refrain from using social media
      • Try to find ways to remain engaged - ask questions and communicate regularly with your instructors, classmates, advisors, and more
      • Inform any housemates of your "Do Not Disturb" working hours
    • Take care of yourself
      • Frequent study breaks, exercise, and maintaining your energy levels through food and sleep help maintain focus

    Work space:

    • If possible, set up a designated "work space" such as a desk/table and chair in an area that is easy for you to focus in
    • Try to find a chair with some cushioning, or add pillows for comfort
    • If you can, adjust your seat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are able to be flat on the floor
    • If you can, try to adjust your seat-back upright to help refrain from slouching, and try to create lumbar support by adding a rolled up towel or pillow to the space between your lower back and the chair back


    • Place your keyboard and mouse close together on your work table at the height where using them causes your elbows to be bent at or near a 90 degree angle, so you aren’t bending your wrists to type
    • Try to position your monitor about an arm's length away from you
    • Ensure your computer and your webcam are elevated to give straight-on perspective during any video calls
    • Position the computer and camera so that you are facing a light source for video calls, and try to make sure that light source is never behind you
      • The best lighting is natural light, though direct sunlight may cause you strain; if no natural light is available, use a lamp.
    • Make sure you are aware of your surroundings when enabling any video calls
      • Bright lights and movement or other distracting backgrounds may detract from others ability to be able to concentrate on the topic at hand
    • Instructors will provide information on how best to contact them in their Canvas courses and syllabi
    • Make sure you check your SF State email
      • Important information from the campus and your instructors will be sent to your official SF State email account

    • Download and install Zoom
      • Instructors may use Zoom to conduct live classes via video conference

    • Receive a copy of Announcements and Inbox messages you send in Canvas


    • Reach out to your instructors on your own.
    • Sign up for office hours.
    • If you aren’t sure how best to participate in the remote classroom, contact your instructor for clarification.
    • Please realize that your instructor may not be able to respond immediately. Be patient, but follow up.

    Courses and Class Content

    SFSU Resources

    SF State's J. Paul Leonard Library is available for some remote support services during campus closures. Resources available are listed at

    Research Help:

    Online research support is available via

    Online Resources:

    • Access OneSearch - Search for books and e-books, articles, digital media, course reserves, and more.
    • Access Databases - Find and search more than 200 databases by subject area or department.
    • Access eBooks -  Get information about SF State's eBook collections, including how to find, read, and use eBooks for your research.
    • Access Research Guides - Explore guides that centralize recommended resources for specific topics or subject areas.
    • Complimentary Electronic Resources - These resources are temporarily available during the COVD-19 pandemic. Each resource listed on this page includes the date when access will expire.


    • Books will be renewed automatically until the library building reopens. If you have questions, please contact Circulation:
    • CSU+ and ILLiad book requests will not be available until the Library re-opens.
    • Media checkouts for classes are suspended until the library building re-opens.
    • If you are registered with the Disability Program and Resource Center (DPRC), submit your accommodations requests via myDPRC a week before class starts. This ensures faculty are aware of the accommodations you plan to use in their class.
    • If you identify as having a disability and are not registered with DPRC, we highly encourage you to contact DPRC for more information or to establish services.
    • If you have any questions about your accommodations or managing your disability in an online environment, or need assistance with anything concerning myDPRC, please reach out to your Disability Specialist as soon as possible so we may resolve any issues in a timely manner in the semester.
    • All students at SF State can use the Accessible Media Quick Converter to easily convert documents between accessible formats (including audio).

    Additional Resources:

    • Counseling & Psychological Services - Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to providing support to students during this stressful time marked with concerns around the Novel Coronavirus as well as the transition to virtual instruction for the time being. CAPS remains open and operational with adjusted services. 

    • Student Health Services - Student Health Services is available for assistance with any concerns related to your mental health, and can provide guidance, necessary care and medication management. 

    Find resources from all groups all over campus, organized by kind, in one handy place! Academic Technology has coordinated with campus partners to provide this comprehensive (and ever-growing) list of resources for students, which is currently available on the Student Resources website, in the Syllabus application, within iLearn, and now in the Drupal 8 web template as a block option for SF State websites. 

    Visit the Student Resources website

    Software titles and licenses

    Students enrolled full-time or part-time in a degree granting program at San Francisco State University (i.e., matriculating students) are eligible for a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 Education for Students.

    Students in specific majors (BECA, Cinema, Art, Journalism, Design and CSU Media Alliance) are entitled to full access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

    Students have access to installing IBM SPSS on personal computers. Use the form here to request a license.

    Current students, faculty and staff are eligible to install MATLAB on personally owned computers.