Participating in Remote Classes

Last Updated: April 7, 2020 - 1:42 pm

Northwestern is committed to ensuring students remain connected to courses and learning resources while participating remotely. This page provides a checklist of items to ensure students are prepared for Spring Quarter studies and participation in courses via Canvas, Zoom, and other online tools. If you need financial assistance related to technology, please fill out the University's COVID-19 funding request form.

The University also continues to update the Coronavirus/COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQ). To access answers related to school-specific questions and resources, learning remotely, student attendance and participation, and more, you can review the Academics section of the FAQ. You can also refer to the College and Schools Coronavirus Websites.

What technology will I need for my classes?

Check the information below for recommendations to ensure your device(s) can deliver an optimal learning experience. Please also be sure to check with your school or unit for any specific program or course-related recommendations or requirements. If you need financial assistance related to technology, please fill out the University's COVID-19 funding request form.

  • Download the Canvas app. Apps are available for both iOS and Android devices. Guide to the app
  • Review and modify your notification settings in Canvas so that you receive all notifications right away. View the guide
  • Review the Canvas guide on turning in assignments, so you are prepared for instructors asking you to turn in assignments in Canvas.


Internet Connectivity 

Hardware Recommendations 
  • You will have the most success with laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices that are less than five years old and meet the University's hardware recommendations; special pricing is available through Dell, Apple, and CDWGIf you need financial assistance, please fill out the University's COVID-19 funding request form.
  • You may also want to have:
    • *Speakers, headphones, or earphones
    • *Microphone—wired or wireless 
    • *Webcam (if not already included on your device)  

*University preferred vendor CDWG offers discounted accessories for purchase by students. Visit to view headset, headphone/earphone, microphone, and webcam options. Users can refine their search and shop by price to identify affordable options.

Software Recommendations

Financial Support

Where can I get my Spring Quarter course materials?

We strongly recommend ordering course materials as soon as possible. When you place an order from any vendor, be sure to check the delivery dates as, in many instances, shipping and delivery timelines are becoming longer. Where possible, consider ordering course materials in a digital format. Please also note:

  • For many classes, all required materials may be available on Canvas, so check your course Canvas page.
  • The University Bookstore is providing free shipping for Spring Quarter. Choose your bookstore below, and select the “Textbooks” tab on top of the main menu bar. The “Find Course Materials” page will appear. Please follow the instructions to place your order.
  • An Amazon Kindle book may be downloaded and viewed on a desktop computer or laptop.
  • The Libraries offer remote resources and services to help students complete research from afar. Visit the Spring Quarter updates page for details and  recommendations for temporarily free access to e-books and other materials from the Internet Archive National Emergency Library and other sources.

How can I learn effectively in remote classes?

How can I get technology support?



Zoom offers 24/7 live support, including national holidays. You will find Support in the upper-right-hand section of your account page or via the blue Help button on the bottom-right-hand side of your screen. We encourage you to bookmark Zoom Support and take advantage of the following support options.

School-Specific Support

In some cases, Northwestern schools offer individualized or supplementary support for students through their IT organizations. Learn more about school-specific support options.