Technology Tips for a Successful Semester

The last thing you need when you sit down to take a test on Blackboard is having to also learn how to take the test.  This applies to all Mason technology.  Familiarizing yourself with these applications now, rather than later, can help you avoid a potentially sticky situation.  Take a look at these services this week to avoid the learning curve later!


You have probably already located all of your courses on Blackboard in the last few days.  If not, don’t walk, run to!  Just like you would scout out the best seat in a classroom, be sure you spend some time in each course learning the landscape.  All courses can be different so it is important you do this for each course!  However, the grade center is always around.  Locate it! 

Some of your courses may be using the Respondus testing browser.  Be sure to check your syllabi for information regarding how your tests will be administered.  If you need to download Respondus you can do so here.

For all other Blackboard questions, start with Mason Information Technology’s Knowledge Base here.

Patriot Web

This is where you registered for your fall courses, but Patriot Web does so much more!  Start looking around in the “Student Services” tab. 

  • Registration – You may be familiar with this already, but be sure to take a peek in case you need to drop a class before the drop deadline. Visit the fall 2020 calendar for more drop information. 
  • Student Records – Degree Works will show you the outline of your required courses including what you’ve completed, are completing, and what’s left. Stay on track by checking Degree Works and meeting with your Academic Advisor regularly. 
  • Student Account – Account Information can also be found in Patriot Web including your Financial Aid records, your charges and payments, and tax information. Start out on a good foot and make sure you don’t currently have any holds on your account here as well.

Need some help navigating through Patriot Web? The friendly folks in the Registrar’s Office have put together some great Patriot Web tutorials here.

Mason Email

This is where you will receive all Mason communications.  In fact, any correspondence about your academics at Mason will need to come through your (or account so we can ensure it’s you! 

  • Try adding a signature line to your account. Don’t make faculty and staff guess who you are! 
  • Considering adding your Mason email to your smart device for easy access. Check out the steps for adding your Mason email to mobile devices here.
  • Check your Mason email every day, even if it’s just a quick glance in the morning. Be sure to stay on the lookout for SAA’s The 2200 every Sunday!

Pro Tips:

Consider what’s in your background when you are participating in virtual classes or recording yourself.  While we love to get to know more about our students, we don’t want to know everything.  Zoom allows you to change your background if you didn’t have time to clean before class started!  Find out how to use Zoom backgrounds here.

Check out these Mason Zoom backgrounds for your next advising meeting! 

Go ahead a bookmark each of these technology services.  You’ll need them often!  You can also download the Blackboard app for checking grades or quick check-ins.