Information Technology Services > Training and Workshops > Orientation Overview


ITS 075: Orientation Overview for First-Time Users

Welcome new students and new employees!

Please view our Information Technology Services Welcome Letter (students, instructors, or employees) which can be downloaded and saved.. That letter is also distributed by our Admissions office to new students and our Human Resources office to new employees.

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 (create your password, choose )
    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. access Zoom and create an instant message
  10. explain how instructors assign Milestones and Warnings in DropGuard
  11. enroll in the Alert Management System to receive SMS text messages on your mobile phone
  12. 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).

(2a). I'm a FIRST-TIME USER, how do I access the College portal, email, Blackboard, Zoom, and other services?

You can access the College portal from anywhere using a web browser. You will need your username (as explained in #1 above) and your password (see below).

The first time you login to the portal you will need to provide your username and the password that we initially create for you. We create your initial password using your 9-digit New River ID number. We put an uppercase N in front of the number and a lowercase r after the number so that it looks something like this:


After entering your username and password (see screenshot), you will be prompted to choose three questions and provide responses to help identify yourself (see screenshot). There are 14 questions available to choose from (see screenshot), so pick three you can remember the responses for and click Submit. You'll also be prompted to provide a personal email address and a cell phone number, so please do that as well. If you're prompted for a One-Time Passcode, please look for that information to be sent to your personal email account or your cell phone as a text message.

Once you've logged into the portal, you'll see links to online resources that you'll frequently need to access (Email, Blackboard, Self-Service Banner, etc.). Most of these applications are configured for (SSO) 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 again (the Non-SSO links).

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 portal.

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.

(2b). How do I change my password?

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.

(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 10) and our office applications (Microsoft Office 2016). Our campus-wide license agreement with Microsoft allows us to provide employees with a copy of Office 2016 for home use on their personal computers. Microsoft Office 365 is freely available to all New River students (and employees) and all you need is your New River email address to prove your eligibility. The following link allows you to obtain a free copy of Office 365 (you will need to enter your New River email address and create an account with Microsoft):

The specific directions you'll need to follow for the site above (Microsoft Office 365) are listed below.

  1. enter your New River email address (,
  2. click a button to identify as a student,
  3. enter your first and last name,
  4. create a password by entering it twice (this is for the Microsoft Office 365 site),
  5. check your New River inbox to receive the verification code,
  6. enter that code on the Microsoft Office 365 site, and
  7. click Start to get to the download link for the software.

If you have problems logging into the Microsoft site, please contact our Help Desk for assistance (this is a fairly common issue).

(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. The myNewRiver app is available from the Apple App store and the Google Android store. New River's library services include subscriptions to a number of resource databases. And another mobile app is Blackboard Mobile Learn, which grants you access to Blackboard on your iPad or smart phone.

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

New River has implemented Zoom as our official instant messaging and videoconferencing application. Zoom is integrated with other New River systems and is available through the portal. Zoom provides a number of features but allows students and employees to communicate from most any location with audio and video. Please ask your instructor how she or he plans to use this tool in your course. The Zoom client is free for all New River students and employees and is installed on all college-owned computers, but you can download it to your computer for free (Download Zoom). If you need any assistance, please contact our Help Desk (304-929-6725).

(10). What is DropGuard and what does it mean to me?

DropGuard is an early alert system that is intended to identify at-risk students early so that support services can provide assistance to help them succeed. Instructors assign positive (Milestones) and negative (Warnings) attributes to students regarding attendance, satisfactory progress, and participation. DropGuard then send email notifications to students as these atributes are assigned.

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

The New River emergency 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

(12). 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: April 2, 2020