Information Technology Services > Training and Workshops > Orientation Overview


ITS 075: Orientation Overview

Welcome new students and new employees!

During this workshop you should receive a printed copy of the appropriate version of our Information Technology Services Welcome Letter (students, instructors, or employees). This letter should also be distributed by Human Resources to new employees and by Student Services to new students.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. perform a query of the People Search database (video tutorial)
  2. access the New River portal (and change your password)
    1. access your New River email account
    2. access the Blackboard Learn 9 learning management system
    3. login to Self-Service Banner, update personal information, and access DegreeWorks (video tutorial)
  3. identify software commonly used at New River (Office 365 is free for New River students)
  4. locate bookstore information
  5. review Computer Use Policy
  6. access New River library resources
  7. explain procedure for obtaining New River ID Card
  8. access Mobile Apps available for New River services
  9. create an instant message using Zoom
  10. enroll in the Alert Management System for SMS messages
  11. complete the online New River orientation


Essential Topics Explained

(1). How do I query People Search to obtain my New River username and email address?

All New River email accounts are displayed in the searchable public user directory, People Search. You can locate your username and email address by searching for your name within People Search. If you can't locate your account information, please contact the Help Desk. But most often you will find your account information and you'll discover that all New River email addresses end with The username precedes this information and would look like this

STUDENTS: Your username is usually your last name followed by an underscore "_" and then your first and middle initial added to the end (e.g., Amanda Britney Jones would be jones_ab).

EMPLOYEES: Your username is usually your first initial followed by your last name (e.g., Amanda Britney Jones would be ajones).

To create your username, open a web browser and navigate to our portal login page ( Click the First Time User link on that page and answer the three questions to create your own password.

(2). How do I access the College portal (, New River email, and Blackboard (and how do I change my password)?

You can access the College portal from anywhere using a web browser. You will need your username and password as explained above. Open a web browser and go to this site Once you've logged into the portal, you'll see the Launch Pad on the left side of your screen. It has links to online resources that you'll frequently need to access (Email, Blackboard, Self-Service Banner, etc.). Most of these applications are configured for single sign-on so that you'll not be prompted to authenticate again to access them. But some will require you to provide your username and password the very first time to access them, after that first time the portal will remember this information for you.

The primary method of communication at New River is your email account. It is generally expected that communications sent to your New River email account will be received and read within a day or so. Instructors should communicate this expectation to students at the beginning of each semester. And students should ask instructors about this expectation if instructors don't mention it on the first day of classes. You can access your New River email by clicking the icon for email in the Quick Launch area of the portal.

On campus employees may also use an email application (Microsoft Outlook) to access their email, but some technical support may be required to configure this. Please contact us ( or 304-929-6725) to request this assistance if needed.

Blackboard Learn 9 is the learning management system (LMS) used by New River. Every course section is available in Blackboard and instructors use it for posting course information, communicating with each class of students, and some are even using it for quizzes and other features. If a class is completely online, then all course communication, assessments, and course content is in Blackboard. But many instructors who teach face-to-face classes are also finding that Blackboard is a great resource. If you are uncertain how your instructor will use Blackboard, you should ask her or him.

To change your password go to the portal login page and click the Forgot Password link. Just a reminder, once you change your email password then you must use that new password to access the College portal and you must update your password on any other devices you use where it may be saved (mobile phones, tablets, other computers, etc.). If you believe that any of your New River passwords has been compromised, please contact us ( or 304-929-6725) for assistance. Identity theft is a real issue and taking some easy precautions can certainly save you much grief (more info about identity theft).

If you ever forget your password, the Information Technology Services staff doesn't know your password but we can reset it for you. When you change your password it should conform to these requirements to be considered a strong password:

  • Not contain the user's account name or parts of the user's full name that exceed two consecutive characters.
  • Be at least six characters in length.
  • Contain characters from three of the following four categories:
    • English uppercase characters (A through Z)
    • English lowercase characters (a through z)
    • Base 10 digits (0 through 9)
    • Non-alphabetic characters (for example, !, $, #, %).
  • Complexity requirements are enforced when passwords are changed or created.

If you are prompted to authenticate when trying to access Self-Service Banner you should use your New River ID number (9 digits) as your User ID and your 6-digit date of birth as your PIN (month + day + year, e.g., 122591). If you do not know your 9-digit New River ID number you may obtain it from any of our campus Student Services personnel or by contacting our Help Desk (304-929-6725 or You'll need to provide sufficient information to prove your identity before we release the information.

There are many options in Self-Service Banner for students (see student tasks). It is where you obtain your official student records, your course schedule, your transcripts and your advisor's name. It is also where you find a link to DegreeWorks (and a link is also available in the portal). Instructors (see instructor tasks) use SSB to find official class rosters, access DegreeWorks, student grades, obtaining information on advisees, verifying your teaching schedule, and for inputting mid-term and final grades. Links to DegreeWorks are currently unavailable until the current catalog is scribed. We will restore links once DegreeWorks is ready (hopefully during the fall 2016 term).

(3). What software is used at New River and how can I obtain a copy?

New River uses many software applications but the most commonly used include our operating systems (Microsoft Windows 7 and Mac OS X) and our office applications (Microsoft Office 2013). Our campus-wide license agreement with Microsoft allows us to provide employees with a copy of Office 2013 for home use on their personal computers. To obtain a copy of the installation disk please contact anyone in the Information Technology Services department. Unfortunately, it is cost prohibitive to include students in this license agreement, but Microsoft has recently made Office 365 available to New River students (and employees) and all you need is your New River email address to prove your eligibility. Here is the site explaining the availability of Office 365:

The link above provides an explanation of how Microsoft is making their software available for free to students. The following direct link allows you to obtain a free copy of Office 365:

(4). How do I access New River's Virtual Bookstore?

To best serve students at all New River locations, the campus bookstore is completely online. Through a partnership with MBS Direct, the Virtual Bookstore provides several convenient purchasing options with delivery to your postal address. A link to the site is available under the Current Students menu option of our web site. You can apply financial aid awards to your purchase when you shop for your books (see Bookstore FAQ).

(5). Where can I find the New River computer policy?

The New River Computer Use Policy serves to guide your computing behavior while also providing helpful information about College procedures related to computer use. All students and employees are bound by the policy which is enforced as necessary.

(6). How do I access New River library resources?

The New River Library provides access to many online databases, journals, and other resources. The Library Home Page has this information and the Library Fact Sheet is a great resource also.

(7). How do I obtain a New River ID Card?

The New River ID Card is a photo ID used to verify your identity. It has your New River ID number printed on it and the cards expire annually, meaning that you need to obtain a new one each year. ID Card pictures can be taken on any campus but the cards are only printed on the Raleigh County campus. They are then sent via campus mail to the campus where the picture was taken so that you can pick it up within a few days of having the picture made. Please contact someone in the Admissions department on your campus to have your photo taken (see Admissions Contact Information).

(8). What mobile apps are available for New River services?

If you have a smart phone and would like to download mobile apps that work with New River services, there are a few that we recommend. For iPhone and iPad users, the myNewRiver app is available from the Apple App store. We are still testing this app for the Android OS and hope to release it soon. New River's library services include subscriptions to a number of resource databases. The app is named AccessMyLibrary-College Edition and is provided by Gale. And another mobile app is Blackboard Mobile Learn, which grants you access to Blackboard on your iPad or smart phone.

(9). What is Zoom (replacing Blackboard IM) and how do I use it?

New River has implemented Zoom (replacing Blackboard IM in December 2018) as our official instant messaging application. Zoom is integrated with other New River systems and available through the portal. Zoom provides a number of features that simply weren't available in Blackboard IM (or other instant messaging applications). And please ask your instructor how she or he plans to use this tool in your course.

(10). What is the New River alert system and how do I enroll in it?

The New River alert messaging system is actually a feature of the College portal. It allows key administrators to send emergency notifications to everyone or to specific groups within the College. It delivers these messages using three channels (an email message in your New River inbox, a pop-up notification when you login to the portal, and an SMS message to your cell phone). You don't need to do anything to receive the notifications in your inbox and as a pop-up when you login to the portal, but to receive them as SMS messages on your cell phone you must enter your cell phone and cell service provider information into the portal (see Alert System FAQ for more information). Here are the steps:

  1. Once logged into the portal, click the Menu option in the menubar and then select My Account.
  2. On the right side of the My Account information page, look under Identification and click SMS.
  3. Choose your cell phone service provider and type in your cell phone number (with no hyphens, dashes or spaces, e.g.; 3045741123

(11). How do I access the online New Student Orientation?

New River CTC has developed an online orientation experience that is required for all new students who are certificate and degree seeking. Transient, Special (non-degree seeking), and Provisional (current high school) students are not required to take online orientation. Here is a link to that information:



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Email: | Phone: 304-929-6725 | 280 University Drive, Beaver, WV 25813-8987 | Updated: November 1, 2018