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Technology Resources for Students

Information Technology Services is here to power your adventure with fast, reliable internet, modern software and apps and professional technical support. The Getting Started section is filled with tasks new students should complete at the same time as Orientation. Items in the Preparing for the New Semester section will help you get ready for a new semester or make your transistion to campus easier and less stressful. Lastly, the On-Campus Technology section contains instructions and tasks best completed when you're on campus.

Getting Started for New Students

Start here to make sure your Iowa State account, called a Net-ID, is set up and secured.

Your Network Identification, or Net-ID, is the group of characters before the "@" sign of your Iowa State email address. It is different than your University ID, which is the nine-digit number listed on the front of your ISUCard. 

Your Net-ID is important because it serves as your unique identifier during your adventure at Iowa State. In fact, many Iowa State accounts to which students have free access automatically recognize Iowa State Net-IDs as login credentials.

You may have already created your Net-ID through your Iowa State admissions account, but if not you can can set it up now.


  1. Go to
  2. Click on "Need to register for a Net-ID?" under the box labeled Register
  3. Enter the required information and click Next
  4. You can keep the suggested Net-ID or change it here if you'd prefer
  5. Set your password. Be sure to follow the password standards described on the page.
  6. Click Accept and then click Register
    • NOTE: the Net-ID registration may take a few minutes to process. If you encounter a system error at this point, please contact the IT Solution Center.

Screenshot showing the register option in ASW

Showing difference between Net-ID and student email; Net-ID is the group of characters before

At some point, you may get locked out of your account and need to reset your Net-ID password. We recommend enabling Password Reset for your account so you can quickly and easily reset your password any time. Without Password Reset enabled, you’ll have to contact the IT Solution Center to have it reset.


  1. Go to and sign in with your Net-ID and password 
  2. You'll be prompted to enter your secondary email address (non-Iowa State email).
    • If you are not prompted automatically, follow the instructions below (For Returning Users)
  3. Add your phone number to be texted, called or both in the event you need a recovery code to reset your account password
  4. Click Create My Account

For Returning Users

  1. Go to and sign in with your Net-ID and password
  2. Select your name in the upper right corner
  3. Select Settings
  4. Select Edit next to Personal Information
  5. Enter your secondary email and select Save
  6. Set up Forgot Password Text Message, if desired
  7. Set up Forgot Password Voice Call, if desired

Because you’ll be using your Net-ID and associated password every day, it's important to protect it. One tool used to protect your login is multifactor authentication (MFA), sometimes called two-factor authentication (2FA). MFA increases account security by requiring a second login step, like typing in a code received via text message, after entering a password.

There are five different verification options available for MFA: the Okta Verify app, the Google Authenticator app, SMS text message, voice call, and Yubikeys (a USB-type physical device). You can learn more about the verification options on the MFA webpage. Most verification options will require a cell phone. If you don't have a cell phone and can't acquire a Yubikey, please contact the IT Solution Center before attempting to activate MFA.

Are you outside of the United States? We recommend you set up an alternate form of MFA other than SMS text message or voice calls. Learn more here.

Okta tile for Multifactor Authentication featuring a fingerprint, text message bubble and key.



  1. Go to and sign in with your Net-ID and password
  2. Click on the Activate Multifactor Authentication tile (pictured above)
  3. Read the information about MFA and click Activate at the bottom of the screen. This will log you out.
  4. Log back in and follow the instructions to set up your preferred verification method(s). We recommend Okta Verify and SMS for ease of use.
    1. Setting up multiple options ensures you can still log in if one isn’t available – like if your phone dies and your charger is at home.

Okta is the name of your Iowa State application dashboard and the easiest way to log into your most-used and favorite applications (4,700+ and counting). In fact, you've already enabled password reset and activated MFA by using Okta.

Okta is a “single sign-on” solution, meaning that once you sign into Okta, you can access other Iowa State applications (like your email or online coursework) with just one click, like using a master key. Logging into accounts this way is much more secure than saving login information in your internet browser. Plus, you only have to remember one password rather than typing in your login credentials for each website.

Optional Step

  • Learn how to add more applications and organize your dashboard with sections.


Screenshot of the Okta dashboard featuring multiple application tiles

Iowa State’s email platform for incoming students is Microsoft Outlook. Your Outlook account was automatically created after you received your Net-ID, and your Iowa State email address is: [Your Net-ID] Your Outlook account can be accessed in your computer browser through the Okta dashboard and added to an email app on your phone, tablet or computer.

As a student Cyclone, all communication from Iowa State offices will go to your Iowa State Outlook (not a previously-used email account). This can include correspondence from Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, your academic adviser, your instructors and others. In other words, you are responsible for the information that is sent to you via your Outlook account, so it is important to check it regularly, even before you arrive on campus. 

Okta tile for Outlook

Microsoft Outlook also offers a robust calendaring system, perfect for keeping track of classes, appointments and events. Since faculty and staff also use Outlook, it's possible to request appointments through Outlook. However, be sure to confirm Outlook is the preferred scheduling method, either by referring to your syllabus or reaching out to the individual you're meeting with. Many staff and offices use their own scheduling software, particularly academic advisers, in order to ensure a high-quality experience for everyone.

Your ISUCard is your physical, permanent university identification card, which includes your picture and 9-digit university identification number. You will use your card for most campus services, including door access, meals on campus, testing centers, recreation center, riding CyRide, the library, and many more.

To request your ISUCard, be sure to carefully read through the guidelines on taking an ID photo and how to submit your photo.

An example of an ISU Card featuring a photo of Cy the Mascot

If you run into technology problems, there are multiple resources available to you as a student. 

Self-service through the IT Portal

Using the knowledge database in the IT Portal allows you to easily search the issue you are having to find possible solutions. For example, you can find instructions for how to join a Webex videoconference, add CyCash to your account and request your transcript. You can access the IT Portal by visiting or by clicking the ISU Service Portal tile on your Okta dashboard.

Okta tile for the ISU Service Portal


Assistance from the IT Solution Center

The IT Solution Center, located on the first floor of Parks Library, is your on-campus resource for technology assistance with a technician. The IT Solution Center is open seven days a week, except for university holidays. More information about hours of operation and in-person support options is available here.

2 student employees outside of the IT Solution Center in Parks Library working on a laptop

You can easily request help from the IT Solution Center though the Get Help option in the IT Portal. You can also contact the IT Solution Center by calling 515-294-4000 or emailing, even if you experience issues before you arrive on campus.

Screenshot from the IT Portal's Get Help option showing a red and white cross image with text Get Help, contact the IT Solution Center to report an incident

Physical Repairs through TechCyte

TechCyte in the ISU Book Store has licensed and trained technicians that can service both Dell and Apple computers in their Service Center in the Memorial Union. View their contact information, service rates and schedule an appointment here.

Technician performing a hardware repair on a computer

System Status

ITS offers a central StatusHub with information about various campus technologies, like the internet networks and email. You can subscribe to email notifications when there are outages or planned maintenance so you're always in the loop. Learn how to subscribe to notifications. You can access the StatusHub from the ITS website menu and by going directly to

Screen shot of the status hub web page showing system statuses

Preparing for the New Semester

Here you'll find information and tasks we recommend you review and complete before the semester starts.

As a student, you’re required to have a laptop computer or other device appropriate for your major/program. This requirement helps to ensure that you can complete coursework successfully. For information about what type of device or software you need, please visit the Computer Requirement web page (linked below) and discuss requirements with your academic adviser.

Iowa State doesn’t recommend you use a tablets, mobile phones or netbook/Chromebook as your primary computing device, though these devices may help supplement your computing needs. The reasons for this are:

  • Many courses rely on video and interactive content to deliver essential course materials. Not all video and interactive content formats are supported by these devices.
  • The primary learning management system at Iowa State is Canvas which can be used with iPad or Android devices. However, some critical features may require additional applications to function that are not available on all devices. 
  • Some majors require software that will not run on iOS, Android or ChromeOS devices.
  • Netbook computers, like Chromebooks, are likely insufficient for your use throughout the duration of your college experience and may not be able to run specific software needed for certain courses.


Get the Right Computer for Your Major

TechCyte in the Iowa State University Book Store has developed the MajorSuccess program, designed to help students find the right computer for their specific major. TechCyte sells various computers and technology products on campus in the Memorial Union, with no sales tax.


AccessPlus is a secure and confidential campus information system used for conducting official university business. 

You can log into AccessPlus through your Okta dashboard.

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in with your Net-ID and password
  3. Select the AccessPlus button

Okta tile for AccessPlus

    The following tasks can be completed in AccessPlus:

    • Update and verify your in-session or interim address 
    • Register for classes
    • View or print your class schedule 
    • View and pay your university bill online 
    • View residence hall information
    • Select a meal plan
    • Search for jobs on and off campus 
    • Set up Third Party Access - Third party access allows students to grant access to selected personal information to someone. For example, you could set up a special account for a parent or family member to view your grades and/or pay your university bill.
    • Set up ISU Alert to be notified of campus emergencies
    • View or print an up-to-date degree audit
    • Update your emergency contact information

    All Iowa State students have access to Office 365 (Microsoft 365 Apps). The software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Teams. The software will work on Windows, Mac and mobile devices. Requires an active Iowa State email address.

    The suite can be downloaded to your device or used as a web application. The downloadable application runs on your computer (no internet connection necessary), while the online app runs in the cloud and is accessed by using your web browser. 

    Optional Steps

    Download the desktop applications

    Explore the web applications (log in with your Net-ID and password, if prompted)

    Okta tile for Microsoft Office 365


    Canvas is the learning management system at Iowa State University. It's an online platform where your instructors will keep important class information. As a student, you'll interact with Canvas regularly to access course resources, complete assignments or take exams. Your Canvas account was automatically created when you received your Net-ID.

    Besides having access to course information, you also have access to many other educational tools in Canvas like Webex, StudyMate and Studio. On the Canvas@ISU Learning and Teaching Technology page, you'll find that each educational tool web page has a section dedicated to student resources, including how to access or use each tool.

    Videos are also available to help you learn how to use Canvas (such as submitting assignments, completing quizzes and viewing grades) from the Canvas community support website.

    Okta tile for Canvas

    Accessing Canvas

    To access your Canvas account, log into your Okta dashboard and select the Canvas application tile (pictured).

    Note: If you don't see your course on the Canvas Dashboard in the week prior to the start of the semester, contact the course instructor.

    The no-cost MyState app is the ultimate student tool kit. Drawing 27,000 users a month, you'll find the app to be a very useful tool while at Iowa State. Even before getting on campus, you can familiarize yourself with the university by exploring the app. Use the map to see where your classes will be, how close you will be to a dining center, and which CyRide bus stops you'll take.

    On the app, you can:

    • View your class schedule, add it to your phone's calendar or share it with others
    • Check CyRide bus routes, schedules and current bus locations
    • Find information about campus events
    • View the campus map with the ability to pin things such as buildings, dining centers, outdoor Wi-Fi and more
    • Research student organizations and find contact and website infromation
    • Find testing centers on campus, hours of operation and available seating
    • Stream 88.5 KURE, the student-run alternative music radio station in Ames
    • Browse the library catlog and view outstanding loans, fees and requests
    • View pictures from around campus with Photostream, submitted to
    • and more!

    App icon for the MyState app

    Download the app for free on your Android or iOS device by selecting the correct button (or search "MyState" in the Play or App Store).

    Icon for downloading on the Google Play Store

    Icon for Downloading on the iOS App Store

    Visit to become a beta tester, providing valuable feedback on app updates before they're released, or to apply to be a student developer. 

    Screenshot of the MyState app's menu page

    Screenshot of MyState app's CyRide page

    Screenshot of MyState app's testing centers pager


    Storing and Sharing Documents

    As a student, you’ll accumulate a lot of files and data from your coursework and extracurricular activities. While you can save these files on your computer, you can also store them online in the cloud. By storing your files in the cloud, you can safely backup your computer and make sure that nothing gets lost if it crashes. You can also easily collaborate with your friends or classmates on projects.

    Iowa State offers three cloud storage applications: CyBox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Each application has its own pros and cons, so feel free to use the option that’s best for you. All these applications can be accessed from your Okta dashboard.

    To make working on files even easier, you can download the desktop applications, allowing you to sync your files between your computer and the cloud. This also allows you to work online and off-line, updating as you go. 

    Optional Steps

    Chart comparing CyBox, Google Drive and OneDrive features

    Top Hat  

    Top Hat is an interactive, cloud-based teaching platform that encourages in-class engagement and gives real-time feedback. Instructors often use Top Hat for in-class questions as well as attendance tracking. Top Hat is supported by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and Information Technology Services.  

    Students can purchase a Top Hat subscription from the ISU Book Store either in store or online. You will be given a code to redeem your subscription, which you can activate at For easy access, you can download the Top Hat app on your phone or tablet.

    Okta tile for TopHat

    Student Design Software 

    Adobe Spark

    Spark is a media creation application available to every Iowa State student. Spark allows you to easily create graphic design content, edit video content, and design web pages. Every department provides different software for students; check with your college or major to see if the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite is supported. 


    Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. The platform is free to use but paid versions are available.


    Grammarly is a digital writing support tool that provides powerful grammar, spelling, and plagiarism checking based on natural language processing and machine-learning technologies. It integrates conveniently into many of the places where students and faculty are doing their writing today, such as web browsers (so it can be used in Outlook and Canvas), Google Docs, office productivity software and mobile devices.  All students and faculty have free access to the premium version of Grammarly through a pilot program funded by CASTLE and supported by the Department of English.   

    View this article for more information on creating your account and downloading the app.

    Okta tile for Grammarly

    LinkedIn Learning

    LinkedIn Learning is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Your Net-ID gives you free access to the entire LinkedIn Learning video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.   

    For technical assistance, please contact Learning and Development at Be sure to check out the LinkedIn Learning support website for additional information.

    Okta tile for LinkedIn Learning

    On-Campus Technology

    The items below can be reviewed at any time and will be important to you once you arrive on campus.

    There are two main file storage services for employees: CyBox and Microsoft OneDrive. Both storage applications are cloud-based and accessible through your Sign On Dashboard, your desktop computer and your smartphone. 

    Practice good file management

    Employees should practice good file management and adhere to these best practices: 

    • Remove personal or non-work/class related items from university storage devices. 
    • Delete obsolete, duplicate or out-of-date files. 
    • Store only active, regularly used data; backups and archive files should not be stored in these services. 
    • Implement a data management plan. 

    Select an option to fit your needs

    Both services offer collaboration features with colleagues both in and outside Iowa State, version control, web browser viewing and editing, local intelligent synchronization, and the ability to mark files/folders for offline access. Both are valuable services and the choice is ultimately up to you! 

    Okta tile for OneDrive


    Primary differences include the following: 

    • Maximum file size: CyBox allows up to 50 GB per file whereas OneDrive allows up to 250 GB per file. 
    • System integration: CyBox requires installation of Box Edit and Box Drive for full desktop editing and syncing whereas OneDrive is natively integrated into all Microsoft applications (Office and Teams) and Windows. 
    • FTP access: CyBox offers FTP access whereas OneDrive does not. 

    Campus internet and NetReg

    Iowa State University has two primary internet networks: eduroam (pronounced ed-u-roam) and IASTATE. You’ll connect to these networks differently depending on your device and if you’re using Wi-Fi (wireless) or ethernet (wired). When using Wi-Fi, you should always attempt to connect to eduroam first, regardless of your device. Just sign on with your full Iowa State email address ( and password.

    Some devices will require to be registed in order to connect to the network properly, called Network Registration or NetReg. Below is a handy chart showing when NetReg is required for each device type and connection type (wireless vs wired). Please note: there are two different NetReg processes depending of your device. To complete the NetReg process for your device, click the button below.


    When to NetReg

    Network Name & Type

    Phones & Tablets



    Game Consoles

    Smart TVs & Speakers


    Eduroam (wireless)

    Preferred, no NetRegPreferred, no NetRegPreferred, no NetRegAttempt to connect firstAttempt to connect firstNot allowed on the network; conect to computer or use PaperCut

    IASTATE (wireless)

    NetReg through ASWNetReg through ASWNetReg through ASWNetReg through IT PortalNetReg through IT Portal

    Ethernet (wired)

    N/ANetReg through ASWNetReg through ASWNetReg through IT PortalNetReg through IT Portal

    Outdoor Wi-Fi

    Along with internet access in all campus buildings, Iowa State also offers Wi-Fi across 15+ acres of green space. You can enjoy Iowa State’s beautiful campus while also getting some work done. View a map of outdoor Wi-Fi locations here or in the MyState app under Map > Search > Categories > Outdoor Wireless.

    Internet performance

    Our wireless networks serve thousands of students, faculty and staff each day, connecting over 200,000 devices every month. With that many devices on the network, it’s important to understand how internet performance can be affected. This graphic shows 5 basic factors that will affect performance while on campus.

    1. The number of devices in an area
    2. The way devices are designed to interact
    3. The amount of interference, caused by things like microwaves, Bluetooth connections, concrete walls and more
    4. A person’s individual device and software
    5. Infrastructure quality, or the number and placement of wireless access points. Wireless access points are pieces of equipment discreetly placed all across campus that allow you to connect to Wi-Fi.

    You can print to campus printers - like those in Parks Library - using a system called PaperCut. Every student is allotted 1000 print credits at the beginning of the semester to use with PaperCut. If you find yourself in need of more print credits than your semester allotment, you can request more in the IT Portal. Print credit usage varies by printer and ink type.

    You have several options on how to print on campus: 

    • Campus computer to campus printer

    • Personal computer (or other device) to campus printer*. Install the required app using these instructions

    • Personal computer (or other device) to a printer you own

      • This requires use of a wired connection from your device to your printer. Wireless printers are not allowed on the Iowa State internet networks. 

      • You're encouraged to wait until you've read your class syllabi to determine if it makes sense to purchase/bring a printer to campus.

    *For campus printers not using PaperCut, contact your college's IT team for more information.

    In addition to the computer stations available in Parks Library, additional computer labs are located across campus for student use. Some computer labs are open for general student use and others are reserved for students within a particular discipline or college. Depending on the lab and health and safety protocols, you may be able to use a computer on a walk-in basis or you may need to select a timeslot. Computer labs are managed by individual colleges and departments, so be sure to contact your college's IT team for more information.

    Here are just a few web pages with more information about select computer labs: 

    Students can borrow various equipment for free from the Tech Lending Program managed by Parks Library to complete class assignments, use for student organizations and more. Learn how Tech Lending helped one student when their laptop quit on them during midterms.

    Some equipment available includes:

    • Apple and Dell laptops
    • Apple iPads and Pencils
    • Canon DSLR cameras and lenses
    • Camera tripods, microphones and accessories
    • Graphing calculators
    • Power banks, chargers, adapters and accessories
    • Projectors and screens
    • Sound systems
    • And more

    Visit the Tech Lending website to learn more about available equipment and how to borrow items.

    Testing centers at Iowa State are computer labs dedicated to facilitating exams for certain classes. These labs are monitored by staff at all times and are only used to take exams. There are four open locations on campus: 2552 Gilman Hall, 0060 Carver Hall, 0250 Carver Hall and 139 Durham Center. You can view more information about location and hours in the MyState app. Be sure to check your class syllabi to see if any of your exams will be at the testing centers.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the testing centers. Visit this page to see all of the guidelines.

    • Arrive a few minutes before your appointment
    • Have your ISUCard out and ready before approaching the front desk
    • Tell the check-in staff the course name, section, instructor’s name, and which exam you are taking (Exam 1, Exam B)
    • Stow all backpacks, books, and other material under your desk
    • All electronic devices (phones, tablets, smart watches) must be shut off and stowed away during the exam
    • No wireless earbuds are allowed
    • You may not use any removable media (flash drive, portable hard drive) while in the testing centers


    Students using computers in the testing center

    Many Iowa State students experience daily barriers to their educational goals. Creating barrier-free access to hardware and software falls under the broad area of digital accessibility. Digital accessibility is not only the production of course materials, websites and communications in an accessible manner, it is a mindset.

    Join the conversation about digital accessibility at Iowa State in the Microsoft Teams channel.

    The Digital Accessibility Lab

    The Iowa State University Digital Accessibility Lab is a physical space located at Durham Center, Room 116, designed to create accessible digital experiences for students with disabilities and increase student learning and engagement.

    The lab is equipped with a variety of digital accessibility hardware and software:

    • Windows and Mac computers and laptops
    • Screen readers and magnifiers
    • Speech and language software
    • VR wearable technology
    • Games and gaming systems

    Visit for more information and to check when the lab is open.

    The Student Innovation Center, opened August 2020, is filled with state-of-the-art technologies for you to use as you turn your ideas into reality. Whether you’re looking to develop virtual reality or build a product prototype, the center can support you along the way.

    Some of the resources you'll find in the Center:

    • Media production suite, funded in part by ITS
    • Composite material fabrication
    • Dynamometer testing for engine torque and RPM
    • Paint and finishes booth
    • Digital modeling and visualization lab 
    • Demonstration kitchen for the College of Human Sciences
    • Gaming lab for the Colleges of LAS and Design

    Exterior of the Student Innovation Center



    University Resources for Students

    Need help?

    Contact the IT Solution Center

    Get Help

    Please note that our technicians can only assist students, not family members.

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