Learning online: technology tips & tools

Last updated August 25, 2023

Your internet connection

A reliable, high-speed internet connection is important to be able to participate fully in online learning. Not sure how fast your connection is? Use this speed test and compare the result to our recommendations below.

There are 3 important numbers to consider when evaluating your internet connection.

  • Download speed: the rate at which data is transferred from the internet to your device – higher numbers are better, but we recommend at least 15 megabits per second (Mbps)
  • Upload speed: the rate at which data is transferred from your device to the internet – higher numbers are better, but we recommend at least 5 Mbps
  • Ping: the delay in transferring data imposed by network conditions – lower numbers are better, but we recommend that your connection have no more than 75 milliseconds

Learn more: How to manage slower internet & low bandwidth

Troubleshooting | How to access | Where to connect | Get help

Common tools

Teaching Effectively in Canvas


Canvas is UW–Madison’s learning management system (LMS) used to view course materials, submit assignments and quizzes, and view grades for many courses. Many other learning technologies that you may use as part of a course are integrated. You can log in to canvas.wisc.edu with your NetID credentials.

Student FAQ | How to use CanvasGet help

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UW–Madison provides no-charge software through our Campus software library including titles listed in this guide, such as the Microsoft Office Suite, Cisco Webex, as well as Mathematica, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many more.

How to access software | Get help

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Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) is a suite of tools provided by Microsoft. In addition to email and calendar features, Microsoft 365 provides multiple online applications such as OneDrive, the Office Suite and additional productivity tools. Tools include web-based and mobile apps as well as desktop applications.

How to access & use Microsoft 365 emailGet help

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UW Library

You can access library books, journals, and articles while off-campus. Once you select what you need from this site, the site will prompt you to log in to the Remote Access/EZProxy service to access those resources you chose.

How to access library resources | Get help

Video conferencing – integrated into Canvas

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Integrated in Canvas, Zoom is an easy-to-use web conferencing tool that enables you to participate in virtual classrooms and meeting spaces.

Zoom (Canvas integration) overview | Get started  Zoom | UW–Madison Zoom 101 guide | Get help

Other video conferencing options

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Microsoft Teams

MS Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings classmates, conversations, files and tools into one place, allowing you to collaborate in real time and communicate both one-on-one and in groups.

Getting started MS Teams | Get help

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Use Cisco Webex for video conferencing, online meetings, screen sharing and webinars.

 Get started Webex | Get help

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Google Hangouts Chat

From direct messages to group conversations, Google Hangouts Chat helps you collaborate with others using dedicated virtual rooms to house projects over time and threaded conversations.

Getting started Google Hangouts Chat | Get help

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Use Zoom for video conferencing, online meetings, screen sharing, and whiteboarding.

Get started  Zoom | UW–Madison Zoom 101 guide | Get help

Get the help you need when and how you need it

Need disability-related accommodations?

The McBurney Disability Resource Center invites you to contact us with any questions you may have.

McBurney Disability Resource Center

Need help with a technology issue?

The DoIT Help Desk stands at the ready 7 days a week via phone, email, chat.

DoIT Help Desk