Prioritize Your Health

As you are transitioning to a new learning modality, it is essential to keep several key factors in mind. First, your health and safety should always be your top priority. You cannot be successful academically, if you are suffering physically or mentally.

Stay safe.

Take proper precautions like distancing yourself from others, washing your hands and cleaning your devices. If you are experiencing an illness, seek medical care.

Keep in touch.

If anything is interfering with your ability to focus on your academic work, contact your instructor or the Dean of Students, Ms. Marcie Simms: or (740) 351-3616.

Seek help if you need it.

This is a particularly stressful time and several of our students have reported feelings of anxiety, depression and increased stress. If you are experiencing mental distress, seek appropriate care.

Campus Counseling Services are available at (740) 351-3608.

Find the Tools you Need

Online learning requires a set of tools that you may not have needed to access (or access frequently) when you were taking classes on the ground.

First, ensure that you have the necessary computing resources to be able to work remotely. These resources include internet access, a device for accessing the online learning environment, and any necessary software for communicating with your faculty and completing assignments.

Shawnee State University uses Blackboard as the platform for our online coursework – you should familiarize yourself with Blackboard and Collaborate. If you need Blackboard Support, please call the ITS Blackboard Support Number: (740) 351-3682 

Specific courses may require you to use other tools or software. If so, become familiar with those as well.

Commonly Used Tools for Online Learning:

MySSU is your University Portal. It allows you to access various functions of the university including course registration, bill paying, financial aid information, and all of your courses via Blackboard.

Use Blackboard to manage course content, complete assignments, take quizzes and exams and interact with your instructors and classmates.

It provides online access to assignments, syllabuses, discussion boards, class lists, announcements and more. You can access your classes in Blackboard from the MySSU student portal.

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended web browser for use with Blackboard.

Collaborate is embedded within Blackboard. This is a web-conferencing tool that allows you to video chat with your classmates and instructors. Classes that incorporate in-person lectures and discussions are likely to make use of Collaborate.

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended web browser for use with Blackboard.

Your @MyMail account provides you with email services. The account is supported by Shawnee State and hosted by Microsoft.

Check your @MyMail account regularly, especially during this time of online instruction.


  1. Visit
  2. Your username is [lastname + firstinitial] (Teresa Smith would be
  3. Your initial password is your date of birth [yyyymmdd]. (If you were born on May 23, 1989 your initial password would be 19890523) You will be prompted to change this password the first time you access your email.

Microsoft Office 365 provides you with some of the most commonly used tools in business and education including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint.

How to Download

  1. Students can download the latest version of Microsoft Office by logging into Office 365 using their SSU email address and password.
  2. From the Office 365 dashboard you will see “Install Office” link. Click this and select the options you want to install.

The SSU App is a great way to stay connected with campus. It is available for download on iOS and Android.

Get the SSU App

Basic Technology Requirements:

SSU strongly recommends using a desktop computer, laptop or tablet for online coursework.

You can access Blackboard and MySSU with a smartphone, but it is likely that completing assignments will be difficult or impossible without a computer or tablet.

Shawnee State University recognizes that internet access is not available in all areas of our region. We also recognize that not all students are able to afford high-speed internet access.

We have compiled a list of possible solutions if you are experiencing connectivity problems.

You will need a current version of a web browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Note: Google Chrome is the recommended web browser for use with Blackboard.

Some courses may require the most recent versions of Java or Flash be installed on your device.

Some courses may require that students engage in a Collaborate or Zoom meeting using a webcam and microphone. Many laptops and tablets have these built in, but desktop computers frequently require these be added.

Unfortunately, webcams and microphones are in short supply given the current demand for them. One potential solution if you need a webcam and microphone is an app called EpocCam. This app allows you to use your Apple iOS or Android smartphone to act as a webcam for your computer. It is available in a free version.

Get EpocCam

Specialized Software:

Courses in some programs require specialized software to complete assignments and projects. Several software companies are providing free or reduced cost versions of their software for educational purposes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

MAYA is 3D animation software. It is utilized frequently in courses offered through the Fine, Digital and Performing Arts department. MAYA offers a free account for three years to students with a .edu email address.

Adobe has provided temporary at-home access for impacted students and faculty, so that they can continue their work remotely.

How to access to Creative Cloud Desktop Apps on your personal device (PDF).

Know Your Classes

It is easy to get behind in an online learning environment. You will need to be more independent in managing your time.

Set up a schedule to keep on track.

  • Organize your schedule, dedicating enough time for each of your classes.
  • If your classes include live lecture or discussion sessions via Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom, be sure to schedule those sessions first.
  • Check your syllabus regularly to stay on track with assignments, quizzes and tests.

Communication is key.

  • It is essential to communicate as much as possible, so email your instructors when you have questions or concerns, and check your SSU @MyMail account regularly.
  • If anything is interfering with your ability to focus on your academic work, contact your instructor or the Dean of Students, Ms. Marcie Simms: or (740) 351-3616.
  • Some instructors may use other forms of communication, but your Shawnee @MyMail Address is your official source of communication.

Get the Support You Need

Academic support services are still available from Shawnee State during this time of crisis.

SSU Support Services:

The Student Success Center is available at (740) 351-4319 or

The Office of Accessibility Services is available at (740) 351-3608.

Information Technology Services are available to email at: Be sure to include your name, SSU ID number, off-campus contact information, and a description of your issue.

If you can't send an email, call (740) 351-3538.

Campus Counseling Services are available at (740) 351-3608.

Clark Memorial Library is available to call (740) 351-3255, text (740) 313-4333 or email

You can also chat with a librarian by visiting the library page and clicking the green 'Chat now' button.

Career Services are available at (740) 351-3027 or

The Student Business Center is available at (740) 351-4357 or

In order to successfully respond to the COVID-19 virus, changes are being made rapidly at the Federal, State, Local and University level. These changes have affected many academic decisions, and SSU has created a dedicated site for COVID-19 information.

If there are other needs that you have, please contact the Student Assist line at (740) 351-4319 or, and we will be sure to provide you with the support that you need.