Support for Online Students


SMARTHINKING provides live, web-based tutoring in a variety of subjects. This service supplements our existing academic support services by offering real-time online tutoring and homework help for core courses and skills up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information contact your online class instructor or Distance Education.

Proctoring Services

NDSCS-Wahpeton and NDSCS-Fargo offer proctoring services for online exams.

  • Students who live in the Wahpeton area may contact the college Test Center for more information about proctoring at 800-342-4325 ext 3-2256 or
  • Contact the NDSCS-Fargo location for information about proctoring services at 701-231-6900 or

Online Class Support - 24 Hours/7 Days a Week Technical Support Service

NDSCS Online
Call: 1-877-740-2213
Chat with a technician at

Microsoft Office Available for FREE

Technical Information

Students using the NDSCS Online class system should be aware of technical requirements that will help reduce problems when using the NDSCS Online system. Pearson LearningStudio (formerly called eCollege) provides basic Technical Requirements at Below is additional information to help you prepare for your online classes.

Windows 8 Operating System is compatible with NDSCS Online courses using the Pearson LearningStudio learning management system. However, there are some issues when it is used with Internet Explorer 11, so students should always have another browser loaded onto their computer as a backup so they can switch back and forth as needed. It is common that browsers will update and create new errors for some course features and trying a different browser is a good alternative when troubleshooting. When using Windows 8, be sure to use the full program and not the “App” version when working in online classes. You may need to also adjust browser compatibility settings on your computer.

iPad - iPads may be unable to view some of the course content in NDSCS online classes. Please continue to use a regular pc for online class work to minimize technology problems with class content and features.

Common Technical Problems (Delete Temporary Files and Cookies) - If pages in your class are not loading properly or links are not working, the most common solution is to delete Temporary Internet Files and Cookies. In Internet Explorer click Tools> Internet Options. In the Browsing History section of the "General" tab click Delete Temporary Internet Files> Delete Cookies.Then close these windows. If it takes awhile to delete the files, close the browser and reopen it. Always do this before beginning an exam.

Computer Access - It is the student's responsibility to maintain access to a working computer and Internet connection to keep up in online class assignments. Technical issues do occur but it is important to keep up with class work so it doesn't affect your final grade. Have a "back up plan" and also notify instructors when you are having trouble in case they have suggestions for you. You can access your class from any computer with an Internet connection. Windows-based (PC) computers are required for online classes. Macs are not compatible with technology used in several classes.

Internet Connection: Students should use a high speed Internet connection for online classes. While a lot of class content can be viewed with dial-up, some class content will not work with dial-up service. If you are unable to get high speed Internet on your computer, you need to find an alternate location with high speed service to view the portions requiring it so you don't miss important information in your classes.

Taking Online Exams - Students need to "Save" their test answers in online exams every few minutes. If you are on a wireless computer, save answers at least every five minutes. If you are taking a test on a hard-wired computer, save answers at least every 10 minutes. The test portion of a class doesn't recognize students as active in the class by entering answers. The "Save" process actually is what triggers the system to know a student is actually active in that exam. To avoid having your test freeze or lose answers, SAVE often!

ExamGuard - Online exams require a technology called ExamGuard. Before you can take your exam, you must install a plug-in on the PC that you plan to use for your exam. If you do not install the plug-in, you will not be able to take your final exam. When you begin the exam, ExamGuard takes over the entire computer screen and temporarily prevents you from printing, copying/pasting, accessing internet sites, or accessing any applications or files on your local computer. When you complete and finally submit the exam, ExamGuard turns off, and your computer again operates normally. 

Below are links to the ExamGuard download:

Be sure to restart your computer after completing the installation process.

Important note: In many commercial facilities (e.g. corporations, computer labs, Internet cafes), all computers are configured to prevent the installation of new plug-ins without the permission and assistance of local system support personnel. If you plan to use a computer in such a location, you should immediately work with the support personnel to ensure that the plug-in gets installed.

Microsoft Office 2010 Enable Editing Issue: When opening documents in online classes with Microsoft 2010, students often get a yellow bar across the top of the document with an "Enable Editing" button. Clicking this button often creates an error and the document will not display for the student to edit and save. There is a blog tip on this issue with steps to correct it for the Microsoft Office programs. It needs to be done in each program. Go to and follow the instructions to enable editing of documents.

Computer Access Policy

Online students must maintain access at all times. The responsibility to maintain Web access rests with each individual student. Please read carefully the following course policy.

  • Each student must maintain consistent access to Web based course materials via a well operating computer and reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • As an online student you are committed to have regular access, or if your service is interrupted, to have an alternate  computer location available.
  • If service is interrupted for any reason for more than 24 hours (power outage, Virus attack) or during an exam, assignment submission period, or other, each student must have a back-up plan in place.
  • Work with your computer support to resolve problems specific to your computer.
    • Make sure you have the correct telephone number or email address to contact them BEFORE the course begins.
  • The NDSCS Help Desk may be able to help you identify and correct a virus: 1-800-342-4325 ext. 3-3333.
  • Report other technical problems to the eCollege Help Desk, making sure you have a copy of all error messages and information about the specific problem to provide the technician. Keep a log of the date, time, and technician.
  • Realize that your instructor is NOT going to accept lack of access as an excuse for late work or missed exam/quiz access.
  • Online active learners are proactive. Before class begins,
    • Locate a 24 hour Kinko's nearest you with work stations (check cost and test access).
    • Make arrangements with a friend to use their computer as a back-up.
    • Check out Internet access at your nearest library and find out the hours.
    • Inquire at a public school for access to their computer lab or library.
  • Complete and submit your work early.
  • Don't wait until the deadline to submit your work in case you do have a problem (technical or other).
  • Complete online orientation class Bits & Bytes for Online Success, a guide to student achievement in the online classroom and beyond. Alternatively, complete the Student Orientation Tutorial. Both are accessed by logging into the NDSCS Online course system.

*Adapted with permission from Dr. C. A. Keller, San Antonio College

Software Requirements

Microsoft Word (2007 or newer preferred) software is needed for all online classes to submit assignments. Note: Some courses require the current version of Microsoft Office or Office Professional or additional software which is indicated in the online course schedules each semester. Software may be purchased from the NDSCS Bookstore. Some packages are available in an educational version at a reduced rate.

Windows-based (PC) computers are required for online classes. Macs are not compatible with technology used in several classes. Students using a Mac may need to arrange access to a Windows PC for some classes.

Students enrolled in an online course or program must meet hardware and or software requirements as indicated. Note: Some programs have additional technical requirements (for example, Architectural Drafting). Be sure to check with the program advisor for additional information. In order to make the most of your online learning experience, there are several technical requirements you will need to fulfill. Some information can be found in the online course schedules each semester.


Login/Password Helpdesk: Students having trouble with their online class login and password should contact the NDUS Helpdesk at 866-457-6387 or (Note: Effective summer 2014, students will use their CampusConnection User ID and Password to log into online classes).

Online Class Support: There is a 24/7 helpdesk at Pearson for technical problems with online classes. The contact information is in your online class under the "Tech Support" tab. Questions about your class content should be directed to your instructor.

E-mail: E-mail is required for online classes and this is where your online class login and password will be sent. All NDSCS students need to activate an NDSCS email account. View instructions for setting up an account. Some free email accounts (i.e. Hotmail) send our email to the trash preventing students from getting their login and password information. Your “Preferred” email address in CampusConnection will be used for your online class communications.

Phone: 1-877-740-2213

Test proctor may be required: Several faculty require that a test proctor be present while students take online exams. This could be someone such as a librarian, job service employee, or a supervisor, but not a co-worker, close friend, relative, spouse, or another NDSCS student. A Proctor Form will be provided by the course instructor when classes begin and needs to be completed and submitted to the online course instructor.

Students must be prepared for computer problems to keep up in online classes. Identify an alternative location to do class work so you don't miss assignment deadlines if you have computer problems. Also be sure to allow time when taking tests and submitting work so you have time to work through problems. Don't wait until the final day an assignment is due in case you have trouble.

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance, promptness and participation in classes, laboratories and/or shops are expected of each student.

If a student must be absent for an extenuating circumstance, such must be communicated to the instructor(s). Individual departments and/or instructors may develop attendance policies to meet specific program or course needs. Refer to the college catalog, student handbook, and/or course syllabi for specific requirements.

It is the responsibility of the instructor to enforce the attendance policy as specified in the course syllabi, student handbook, and/or college catalog. The instructor shall refer to the department chair and/or division dean’s office any case of absenteeism that might require special attention.

An online student who does not submit class work for ten (10) consecutive calendar days may be dropped from the course. Efforts to contact inactive students are attempted as soon as each semester begins; however, if there is no response from the student and inactivity continues, a drop will be enacted.

The following action may be taken regarding irregular attendance:

  1. Student may be dropped from a course or program;
  2. Course grade may be lowered;
  3. Termination of financial aid assistance;
  4. Cancellation of registration;
  5. Restriction from extra-curricular activities; or
  6. Any other judgments deemed necessary.

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