As of March 23, 2020 all Spring Semester 2020 classes at MSU-Northern will be taught remotely due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

In addition to keeping you safe, supporting your academic success is our top priority. The FAQs here are designed to assist you in this transition to completing your classes remotely via Brightspace. Please reach out with any questions you have!

Brightspace Support Staff 

Caleb Hutchins
(406) 265-3701
Also available through Brightspace live chat 

Jason Geer
(406) 265-3767
Also available through Brightspace live chat

Frequently Asked Questions

I am having trouble logging in to Brightspace. What should I do?

Consult the "Need help logging in?" section on If you still need help, contact the Brightspace support staff.

Can I forward my Brightspace emails to my personal email account? How do I set up text notifications?
This video shows you how to set up email forwarding and email and text notifications so that you don’t miss important course communications. If you still need help, contact the Brightspace support staff.

Does Brightspace have a mobile app?
Brightspace does have an app called “Pulse” — however, it has limited functionality. If you need to use your phone or tablet to access Brightspace, we recommend simply accessing the Brightspace site itself on your phone ( The site is mobile friendly and provides a much better overview than the app. You can bookmark the site on your phone or tablet for quick access.

How do I contact my instructor?
The best way to contact your instructor is through the Brightspace Classlist. Go to the “Classroom” tab, click “Classlist.” Click the little down arrow by your instructor’s name and then “Send Email.” Additionally, this video shows you how to use the Email tool. The instructor may have additional contact information outlined in their syllabus or in the Brightspace Announcements section.

How much time will be involved in online work?
You should plan to spend 2 to 3 hours per week for each course credit. For instance, for a 3-credit class, you should plan to spend an average of 6 to 9 hours per week academically engaged in that class.

I don’t understand what my instructor is asking me to do in Brightspace. What should I do?
First, review the syllabus, the Brightspace Announcements, and the assignment instructions. If you still need clarification, contact your instructor by sending them an email through the Brightspace Classlist (see “How do I contact my instructor?” above). If emailing back and forth is not getting the question answered, ask them if live chat through Brightspace or a phone call is possible. If you still have questions, contact MSUN’s Brightspace support staff.

I keep getting an error message when trying to access my email in Brightspace. Why?
Some instructors set up their quizzes to disable student emails while the quiz is in progress. If you have a Quiz that you’ve started but haven’t finished yet, this may be preventing you from getting into the Email tool. You’ll need to return to the quiz, finish it, and click “Submit Quiz.”

I started taking a quiz and ran out of time. What should I do?
Contact your instructor and explain the situation. They may be willing to extend the allowed quiz time.

I missed an assignment/quiz/discussion. How do I make it up?
Contact your instructor and explain the situation. They may be willing to extend the due date for you, for partial or full credit.

Can I work ahead?
This is up to the individual instructor. Many do allow it and are explicit about it. If your instructor does not have future modules open in Brightspace, but working ahead would help you with your particular situation, please contact them and ask if working ahead is possible.

I need help writing a paper for my class. Who should I contact?
Email to request an online Writing tutor.

I think I might need tutoring for my class. Who should I contact?
Email to request an online tutor. Make sure to specify the course for which you need tutoring.

How do I view my grade and instructor feedback on an assignment/quiz/discussion?
Go to the “Progress” tab and click on “Grades.” All submitted grades and feedback for your assignments and quizzes will show up here.

What if I submitted an assignment and then realized I needed to fix something/attached the wrong document?
Just submit a second document and add a note to your instructor in the comment box explaining the situation. You cannot remove the first submission; the instructor will have to do this.

MSUN’s network seems to be down and the website isn’t working. Can I still access Brightspace?
You can still access Brightspace at Keep in mind that, if the campus network is down, instructors may not receive your Brightspace emails if they rely on email forwarding to their email account.

My instructor is using WebEx live video, and it keeps cutting out. What should I do?
You may have limited internet bandwidth available. Turn off your own video input in WebEx so that you are only participating through audio but can still see the video. If you’re on your phone, try switching data to WiFi (if you have WiFi available). If you’re using WiFi at home on your phone or computer, try to make sure that no one else on your network is using a lot of bandwidth (e.g., Netflix, gaming).

What if my computer doesn’t have Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel installed but I need it for class? Do I have to buy the software?
No. All MSUN students have free access to Microsoft O365 (including Word, Excel, etc.). Go to and follow the instructions for install. You can also download these programs on your smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, for written assignments in particular, you might consider using a free cloud-based program like Google Docs.

What if I need to submit a written assignment but don’t have access to a computer?
Consult with your instructor. You might be able to compose a paper on your smartphone with a mobile-friendly word processing app like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Or, if the instructor will allow it, you might be able to compose it by hand and submit a photo from your phone.

iPhones have a built-in document scanner app in the Notes tool (directions here) and Android phones have a number of free document scanner apps that you can download (directions here). Scanner apps turn your phone's camera into a scanner by converting photos into PDF documents.

I don’t have my textbooks with me. I’ve heard several textbook publishers are offering free online textbooks. How can I find out if my books are available online?
Most publishers are giving students free access to electronic textbooks at this time. Contact your instructor first for guidance, as they may have spoken with a publisher representative and received instructions for student access.

Many of these companies will want you to prove you’re a student and will require you to submit your OFFICIAL University email address to access these resources (not your Brightspace email). This email address can be found in MyInfo under “Personal Information” and “University Recognized (OFFICIAL) E-mail Address.” Typically, this email address is going to be:

The following links provide electronic textbook access instructions for specific publishers:

Many publishers also have their electronic textbooks available through Vitalsource.