Internet-based tools -important websites to learn-
Once you have started classes, you will need to quickly pick up new tools. You will familiarize with many codes for classes, building names, make new friends, important website’s URLs to check your grades etc. We (international ambassadors) have been written on how to make new friends, places to visit, etc. But we didn’t talk about Internet-based tools! ….. And we all use it every single day! The University of Minnesota and every Department, Office, or Library has its own special website where you will find official information about your grades, registered courses, available textbooks at the library, events, and so much more information!
There are a few websites that I would talk about in this article because I am more than sure that you will use them either because as professor ask you to do so, or because the information it provides is really helpful. The names of this websites are: MyU, OneStop, ITLABS, Library, ISSS, and the UofM E-mail.
Certainly I can write down an extraordinary b-i-g list with all of the websites I daily use, but I don’t want to make you (the reader) feel overwhelmed. I promise that little by little you will find and add to your list of favorites as the days go by.
MyU is an extraordinary website with all of your current academic status (courses, finances, health, library, etc). My intuition of this website is that of helping students to quickly find and be informed about their current status at the U. When do I use this website? – I certainly use it when I want to be sure that the courses I registered for, are the ones the University knows (and is expecting from me to) I am taking. From this webpage I also have a quick link to check my email inbox (although I use a email client to read/write email).I can also see if have a pending tuition balance to pay. Also, very important as well, I can see if I have any hold; a hold is “something” that won’t let you continue with registration, like a tuberculosis exam (international students may need to do it as soon as they arrive to campus). Finally you have a quick access to the library online system, thus you can search for a textbook, download a paper, etc.
OneStop is “the central office” –I call it. It is so big I don’t know where to start! If you need a transcript, a graduation planner (especially for undergrads), registration for classes! You will do it from here mostly likely. You can also find the official calendar of the academic year (when classes start, end, holidays, etc.). Information related to finances is also available here; for example, if your tuition will be pay by your parents you have to grant them access to your account so that they can pay it for you, and you will do it from here.
MyU is a reduced view of all the services provided by OneStop and some others like the Health Center and the Libraries.
ITLABS for Computer Science students is a website provided by the Institute of Technology with all the information regarding labs and computer facilities for IT students (computer science students mainly). Most of us (computer scientists) will have to create an ITLABS account to work on course’s projects or labs. For example I last semester I registered a Computer Security course and we did some labs where we were actually hacking a machine or watching tcp messages. For those who are not aware of the consequences of these acts, it is prohibited thus ITLABS can build a virtual setting for us to do these type of things. ITLABS is also used for some other courses like Parallel Programming, and we can use faster machines that are usually not available for regular users (that’s my understanding anyway). So if you are a CS student here you will find the link to each registered course’s website (very important!!!!! Always to be informed about what the TA or the Professor post here! , and also a list of the names of the machines you can remotely connect to if needed.
We have multiple libraries that are sparse on campus. However you will be visiting one or two with more frequency instead of using all of them because they are organized according to majors. However they own a very good website with a very good search engine to find anything you might be looking for. Check it out! Unlimited resources!
ISSS of course is the official place providing information to International Students. They have done an enormous effort to provide us with easy and detailed information about different procedures that at some point (early or later in your studies) may need to follow. Please keep it on your favorite’s list! (And I also keep on my cell phone’s contact list, the ISSS phone number)
The email is an official communication channel between the University and you. So read it frequently, a few times a day you should check if new email is sitting in your inbox waiting for you to read it. If you are not using an email client like Outlook for example, the easiest way (or the only I like the most to get quicker to my email inbox) is to use www.mail.umn.edu.