laptop that reads DVC and a mobile phoneOnline Tips and Tools

Taking an online class?  Check out online learning tips, tool guides, and support.

checkmark  Set up for success with our six quick tips:

Tip 1 → Check your email.

Instructors typically send emails the week before class begins with instructions for getting started.  To check for messages:

  1. Log into InSite.
  2. InSite email tileClick the "Email" tile to check your DVC student email account. 
    • Here you will find important messages from the college and your instructors.  Many instructors use this email to communicate with you before the term begins.
  3. Canvas Inbox tileClick the "Canvas" tile, then click "Inbox" from the global navigation menu (far left) to check your Canvas email. 
    • This inbox is a dedicated space for your instructors and classmates, and many instructors will use this email to communicate once the term is in progress.
Tip 2 → Check your technology.

mobile phoneAlthough some course content may be mobile-friendly and the Canvas app is useful, you will want a laptop or desktop for online learning.  Your instructor will let you know if there are additional requirements, like a webcam for Zoom meetings.

  • Request a technology loan if you need to borrow a calculator, headphones, Chromebook, webcam, or wi-fi hotspot to complete your course.
  • Check for browser updates.  Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all work well with Canvas, (though some Canvas tools like Proctorio will require Chrome and Chrome extensions).
  • Review our Technology Basics for Students printable guide.
  • Additional guides for common online learning tools (like Zoom) are available.  Click the "Tools" tab on this page!
Tip 3 → Complete your training badges.

canvas expert badge over viking helmetonline success badgeLearn about our Canvas Expert and Online Success Badges to help you prepare for using Canvas and taking courses online.

Tip 4 → Check Canvas the first day of the term.

alarm clock ringingLog into Canvas the first day of the term, when your course shells will be available.  There will typically be assignments for you to complete in the first couple days, and some instructors may drop students who don't complete work. 

If your online course has required online meetings, you will find access information in Canvas. (Typically these are hosted through Zoom.) For help understanding if and when your online course has required meeting days and times, see the Student Scheduling Guide.

Tip 5 → Communicate with your instructor.

envelope with @ sign insideYou may be learning online, but you still have a dedicated DVC instructor in each of your classes that wants you to succeed.  Reach out to your instructor with any questions!  You can find instructor contact information in the faculty directory, on your course syllabus, and/or on your class Canvas site.  See How to Email Your Instructor for communication tips.

Many instructors also host "office hours" where you can drop in for virtual support!  Check your course syllabus and/or Canvas site for dates, times, and links.  Learn more about videoconferencing in our Zoom Guide for Students.

Tip 6 → Connect to student support.

student profiles on computerConnect to counselors, tutors, student groups, financial support and more in the DVC Support Hub on Canvas.

checkmark  Find guides to common technology tools:


insite logoDownload the InSite app via Apple or Google Play for convenient access to DVC course planning, scheduling, email, and more.

Office 365: email and Microsoft tools (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc)

All DVC students have access to email and Microsoft tools like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more!

  1. insite email tile with @ signLog into InSite.
  2. Click the "Email" tile.
  3. Click the waffle (3x3 dots) in the upper left.
  4. Click "Office 365."
  5. Click "Install Office" to download the Microsoft Suite to your device for offline access.
  6. Or, use Microsoft tools online.  Click the icon of the tool you'd like to use (ex. Word, Powerpoint, etc) from the left navigation menu.  Using this online version will save your files to your OneDrive for cloud-based storage and sharing.  Learn more about OneDrive tools.  

Our online classes take place through Canvas. 

  • canvas logoLearn how to navigate Canvas by getting your Canvas Expert Badge.
  • For 24-7 individual support, log into Canvas, click "Help" in the global navigation menu (far left), and click "Chat with Canvas Support (Student)." 
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions in DVC's Canvas Student Guides.
  • Download the Canvas Student via Apple or Google Play for convenient access to Canvas.  (Please note, while the app is convenient and students can manage much of their coursework from a mobile device, some Canvas features only function on a laptop or desktop computer.) 
Zoom/TechConnect Zoom

conferzoom logoZoom - called "TechConnect" within Canvas - is a video-conferencing tool used for online class meetings, virtual office hours, and campus tutoring.  This tool allows for screen-sharing, live discussion, live chat and more.  Get familiar with Zoom:


With Studio, you can record your own videos, comment on instructor/peer videos, or take quizzes on videos you watch in Canvas.  Learn more:


hypothesis logoMany instructors use Hypothesis for social, digital annotation of course readings within Canvas. 


accessibility icon

By clicking the downward facing arrow next to files in your Canvas courses, you can choose an alternative format such as tagged PDFs, audio, electronic braille, BeeLine Reader, and more.  Explore the options at Ally: Alternative Formats or watch Ally in Canvas to learn more.

Immersive Reader

Do you find it easier to retain information when you hear it?  Clicking the Immersive Reader button on the top right of any Canvas page allows you to listen to the content and enable translation and/or grammar identification. Learn more in the Canvas Student Guide: How do I use Microsoft Immersive Reader?


Gradescope logoGradescope is an assessment tool some instructors use in Canvas.  See Using Gradescope in Canvas as a Student for tutorials.  You can also email for extra support.


proctorio logoProctorio is an online exam proctoring tool some instructors use to help ensure academic integrity.  Instructors can enable Proctorio settings such as locking down a test-taker's internet browser, disabling copying and printing, and/or enabling web camera and audio recording.  In turn, students get the flexibility to take their exam in the place (and sometimes time frame) of their choice. 

How do I take an exam with Proctorio?

  1. Use a desktop or laptop computer.  (Mobile and tablets are not currently supported.)  Your instructor may require a device with a web-cam and speakers if he/she plans to record video and audio during the exam period.  If you need assistance getting a device, please fill out a Tech Loan form.
  2. Use Google Chrome. You can downloaded Chrome for free if not already on your computer.
  3. Install the Proctorio Chrome extension.
  4. Find a quiet place with solid internet access when it's time to begin your test.  
  5. Before you begin your exam in Canvas, you will see which features have been enabled by your instructor.  (Learn more about which device settings Proctorio can control during an exam in the Proctorio Overview.)
  6. Proctorio will do a quick diagnostic check to make sure the extension is running properly and that all the requirements have been met.  For example, if you have multiple tabs open, you may be prompted to close those tabs before beginning your exam.  Follow the prompts until you are cleared to begin your test.
  7. Take your test as you would if you were in a classroom setting, by following your instructor's instructions.  For example, you typically wouldn't want to answer a phone call during an exam or leave the room during the testing period.  Proctorio may flag your exam results for your instructor if it senses "suspicious behavior", so that your instructor may review your exam session.

Need some help? Visit Proctorio: Support for Test Takers or click the shield icon in Chrome while you are taking an exam for immediate 24-7 chat support.

What if I have concerns about Proctorio?

While this tool can feel invasive to some students, Proctorio adheres to students' privacy rights in compliance with FERPA.  It is also COPPA, GDPR, and California Student Privacy Certified.

You can read more about Proctorio's privacy policy, including zero knowledge encryption technology to protect your information, or watch this short video to learn more:

If you aren't comfortable installing the Proctorio extension on your personal device, you can come to campus to take your exam in one of our computer labs.  Computer labs with Proctorio installed include those in HSF-292, PS-110, and ASC (Academic Support Center): L-148, L-149, and L-150.  You may also wish to reach out to your instructor to see if other alternatives exist.


All DVC student's have free access to Folio, a virtual resume building tool that allows you to create an e-portfolio connecting your skills and course work to employer-facing job boards.  Learn how to set up your Folio.

Online tutoring 

profile shadows on computerAll DVC students have free access to tutoring. From the course navigation menu of your Canvas classes, click DVC Tutoring to access campus tutors during typical business hours, or NetTutor to connect to tutors on evenings and weekends.  Learn more about DVC Tutoring or NetTutor.

checkmark Still have questions about online learning or tools?  "Just ASC!"  Peer mentors and staff in the Academic Support Center can help you with technology, Canvas, and other academic support.  Drop in on Zoom or on campus.