Welcome to Great Falls College MSU! We know that getting started with all of the technology as a new student can be a bit overwhelming, so this page has been developed to walk you through the process of finding your username, setting your password for the first time, and how to log into and use the resources provided to you.
Click on each of the steps, in order, and follow the instructions provided. If you run into trouble, please contact the Technology Assistance Center for help. Our contact information can be found at the bottom of this page.
Students have 2 main IDs that are used to access most services and software on campus.
MSU ID (also called Student ID or GID) - is in the form of 8 numbers preceded by a - (-01212121).
NetID - is in the form of letter 2 numbers letter 3 numbers (a12e345). The NetID is used to login to most campus resources.
The acceptance letter that was sent to you after you applied and were accepted to the college will have your MSU ID printed near the top and this will be important for obtaining your NetID and setting your password.
Claim Your NetID
- In your web browser, go to https://www.gfcmsu.edu and click on Banner Web/MyInfo, located near the top left of the page.
- Look for Don't know your NetID? and click on the link that says Look it up here.
- Enter your MSU ID with the dash and click Submit.
- If you do not know your MSU ID, you can click I don't know my MSU ID and you will be asked to provide your last name and last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you run into any trouble, please contact us by phone at 406-771-4440 so we can further assist you.
- Enter your date of birth in the format mm/dd/yyyy and click Submit. (example: July 21, 1996 would be 07/21/1996)
- The screen that follows should show your NetID. It should look similar to a12e345.
Set Your Password
- In your web browser, go to https://password.gfcmsu.edu and click on the blue Go to Password Portal button.
- Click on the Go to Setup Tool button.
- Enter your NetID, obtained from step one, and click the Continue button.
- Enter your MSU ID and date of birth in the same format as earlier but without the slashes mmddyyyy and click Continue.
- Select and configure your Authentication method(s). These are what you will use to login to the password portal to set or reset your
- 5 Challenge Questions - You are required to configure 5 challenge questions.
- Email - (optional) Provide an email address to use to receive a verification code.
- Text Message - (optional) Provide a cell number that can be used to receive a verification code.
- Note: You only need to setup one authentication method however, you are required to setup challenge questions regardless.
- You should be back at the start page of the password portal. To set your password, click Go to Reset Tool.
- Enter your NetID and click Continue.
- Select one of the authentication options (you may have 1, 2, or 3 depending on what
you setup in step 5).
- Authentication with Challenge Questions - You will be asked to answer 3 of your 5 challenge questions to proceed.
- Authenticate with Text - You will click Send Pin and wait to receive a text message with a pin code. Once received, enter it in the box and click Continue to proceed.
- Authenticate with E-Mail - You will select an email address (if you entered more than one previously), click Send Pin, check your email for the pin code, enter it in the box, and click Continue.
- You should see a page that has a list of password requirements and boxes to enter your password and confirm your password.
- Enter your desired password in both boxes and click Submit.
- You will see at least 2 lines showing a status as the password is updated. Wait for them to show success before navigating away from this page.
All currently enrolled students are assigned an official student email account and provided with access to use and install Microsoft Office 365 for free on up to five devices, which includes supported Windows and Mac computers, iPads and supported Android tablets, and iPhones and supported Android phones. In addition, you can sign in and use the web based versions of Microsoft Office applications on any computer with a supported web browser.
Sign Into Microsoft Office & Student Email
- In your web browser, go to https://login.microsoftonline.com/.
- Where it asks for you to enter an "Email, phone, or Skype" enter your NetID@gfcmsu.edu and click Next. For example, if your NetID is a12b345, you would enter email@example.com. It is very important that you enter it exactly as described or you will not be able to login. Note: This looks like an email address but it is not your student email address. That will be discussed in a later step.
- Enter the password that you created using the password portal from step 2 and click Next.
- From here, you can use all of the Microsoft Office applications in your web browser, access your student email, or install Microsoft Office to your Windows or Mac computer.
Access Student Email
Now that you are logged into the Microsoft Office Portal, you can access your student email by locating and clicking on the Outlook icon.
Tip: Go to https://outlook.office.com and login with the same credentials as above to go straight to your student email.
Find Your Student Email Address
- Login to the Microsoft Office Portal and go to Outlook, as described in the previous steps.
- Click on the small circle in the upper right corner of the page that shows your initials.
- Click View Account.
- Near the top middle of the page you should see your initials and your name. Below your name is your official GFCMSU.edu student email address. It will be your FirstName.LastName@gfcmsu.edu (firstname.lastname@example.org). In some cases your email address may contain a number at the end (email@example.com). In rarer instances it may be your FirstInitial.LastName@gfcmsu.edu (firstname.lastname@example.org). In any case, what shows here is your official student email address.
Tip: Your official student email address can get you student discounts on software and many services. To access these discounts, you will typically be asked for your student email address, where you will be sent a link or a code to confirm you are a current student.
Brightspace, sometimes referred to as D2L or Desire2Learn, is the official learning management system used by the four Montana State University campuses. Each campus has their own instance and may use the built-in tools differently or use integrated software services. For this reason, it is important to attend attend any orientation events for your campus that related to Brightspace and/or online learning. GFCMSU provides on campus and fully online versions of a non-credit course called Tech Essentials that provides students with important information about how online, face-to-face, hybrid, and hyflex courses on our campus utilize the Brightspace and other technologies.
Sign Into Brightspace
- There are 2 separate addresses that you can use to access GFCMSU's Brightspace.
- Primary - https://elearning.gfcmsu.edu - This one is hosted on campus as part of the college website and should be used primarily. Also, reachable by going to https://www.gfcmsu.edu, clicking on Students, and clicking on the small orange B on the navigation menu.
- Alternate - https://gfcmsu.desire2learn.com - This address is not hosted on campus. So, if you are unable to reach the college website for any reason, you should try this address.
- To login, visit one of the login pages, enter your NetID (example, a12b345), enter the password you set in step 2, and click Login.
Students cannot login to Brightspace until a few hours after they are enrolled in courses through Banner.
New students who are enrolled in a future semester will not be able to login to Brightspace until 7-8 weeks prior to the start of that semester.
You may login to Brightspace but see only some or none of your courses listed. This is because each semester and block has an official start date (available on the Official Academic calendar, located at http://students.gfcmsu.edu/academiccalendar.html and, although some instructors activate their courses up to one week early to allow students to view the syllabus and course requirements, others activate their courses on the first day of the semester or block.
Software Resources and Information
Having the right computer hardware and software from the start will help you to avoid frustration and help you to be successful. The list below provides some technology requirements and recommendations, as well as information on some of the most common software used for instruction and how to access and use them.
|Operating System||Windows 8 or 10
Mac OSX 10.10 or newer
Mac OSX (newest version)
|Memory (RAM)||4 GB||8 GB|
|Storage||256 GB||500 GB|
Minimum Resolution of 800 x 600
|Resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater|
|Internet Speed||High Speed||High-speed Internet (i.e. cable, DSL, etc.)|
Note: It is strongly recommended that students have a Windows or Mac computer available to them to use for school. Some classes may require software that will not run on other devices such as Chromebooks, iPads, Android tablets.
Great Falls College MSU recommends using the newest versions of the following web browsers, as they are most widely used and most compatible with the web based systems used for instruction.
Google Chrome latest version - Install Google Chrome by going to https://www.google.com/chrome/
Mozilla Firefox latest version - Install Firefox by going to https://getfirefox.com
Apple Safari latest version - Safari versions come with system updates and new versions of the Mac operating system. If you are unable to update your Mac to a newer version of MacOS, you can try installing Chrome and/or Firefox.
Students can download two mobile apps to help them keep track of their course schedule, assignment due dates, campus events, grades, student engagement, and more!
The GFCMSU Mobile app is free and available to download to iOS and Android devices from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, by searching for "GFCMSU Mobile" (without the quotes).
When you open the app for the first time, click Get Started, click Student, click Next and you will be taken to a login page. Login using your NetID and the same password you use to login to Brightspace and Banner Web/MyInfo.
Campus Tiles - Each time you open the app you will be taken to a page that contains "tiles" to view things like the academic calendars, building hours, Brightspace Mobile, etc.
Home Screen - If you click on the "home" icon, you will see a featured tiles area, favorites (which you can edit), your schedule of face-to-face, hybrid, and hyflex courses, as well as items from any other calendar you have subscribed to, upcoming assignment due dates from Brightspace (will not show due dates for assignments in publisher websites), and unread notifications.
Student Feed - The Student Feed icon takes you to the campus wall. Students can post questions, comments, events, etc to the campus wall. You can also navigate to sections for posting items to buy or sell, lost & found item information, housing questions, news, and ride sharing.
Notifications - Any announcements created in Brightspace by the admins or your instructors will be visible within the app but clicking on notifications.
Profile - Clicking on the profile icon allows you to edit your profile within the app, manage friends, manage calendars, courses, groups, and subscribed activities.
Brightspace Pulse is a mobile app that was created by the makers of Brightspace and is available for free from the iOS and Google Play app stores. It allows students to read and interact with course content, keep track of upcoming and completed assignments, view grades for completed activities, receive announcements, and jump straight into the mobile version of Brightspace, without the need to login, to see and do more from within the app.
The navGFC online platform streamlines student support by breaking down communication barriers. navGFC helps guide students toward a successful college journey and makes communication easier between GFCMSU administrators, advisors, faculty, and staff.
Learn more about navGFC at https://www.gfcmsu.edu/navgfc/
Webex is one of the video conferencing services we use at the college. It can be used for things like delivering live lectures to remote students, one-on-one virtual meetings and office hours with instructors, live-streamed campus events, etc.
Students are not required to have individual Webex accounts in order to use Webex, nor do we create or assign Webex accounts to students.
Webex is used in four different ways and the type of session you are joining will dictate how you join the meeting or event.
Live Lectures Through A Module In Brightspace - Some instructors use Webex integrated with Brightspace to deliver live lectures. You will know that this is the method you will use if there is a Content topic within the course in Brightspace that provides a list of meetings with a Join button next to them. In this case, you will click Join at the appropriate time and the previously installed Webex application should automatically open, allow you to select options like to have your video and microphone off at the start of the meeting, and then you will click Join on that window when you are ready to join the meeting.
Virtual Office Hours With An Instructor Via Brightspace - Some instructors setup virtual office hours via the same Webex/Brightspace integration mentioned previously. You will know that this is the method you will use to schedule a meeting with your instructor if there is a Content topic within the course in Brightspace that has an Office Hours tab and clicking on it gives you a list of available time slots available for scheduling. To use the virtual office hours, you will click on an available time slot, provide some information that you will be prompted for, and confirm your scheduled appointment. The appointment will go onto the instructor's calendar automatically and you will receive an email, at the email address you provide, with the meeting details to include the meeting password. You will use the link and password in the email at the scheduled time to join the meeting.
A Link To An Individual Meeting Provided By The Instructor - In some cases, the instructor may choose to schedule Webex meetings directly in Webex. In this case, you should receive the information to join the meeting from the instructor directly, either posted in the course in Brightspace, or emailed to you.
Campus Events - From time-to-time the college schedules campus events that can be participated in virtually using Webex. How you attend these events depends on the type of event. In some cases, you may need to pre-register, which means you will be sent an email with the necessary information for joining the event. In other cases, you simply need to click on a posted link at the specified date and time. Information about the particular event should explain how to participate.
Teams is similar to Webex, but includes additional collaboration features that allow it to work well for some courses. Teams is a Microsoft product but is not included when you install Microsoft Office.
To install Teams:
- Visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/download-appsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/download-app
- Click on Download for Desktop or Download for Mobile (depending on the type of device you are installing it on).
- Once it is downloaded open the installer to install the application to your computer.
- Open the Teams application and it will prompt you to sign in.
- Enter your NetID@gfcmsu.edu for the username and the same password you use to login to your student email and Brightspace.
Note: If you are able to login to the Microsoft Office Portal at https://login.microsoftonline.com with your NetID@gfcmsu.edu and your password but you are unable to login to Teams with the same information, please contact us in the Technology Assistance Center using the contact information at the bottom of this page.
Panopto is a video creation, storage, and streaming solution the college uses to allow instructors to create videos for instruction. Students are not typically able to create video content with Panopto, except for situations where an instructor has created "video assignments" (not to be confused with a separate tool called Video Assignments) for students to complete using Panopto.
Students will typically view Panopto recordings in one of two ways:
- Via Course Content - Many instructors choose to embed their Panopto videos within course content in Brightspace. If this is the case for your course, you will view videos by navigating through the Content tool for your course within Brightspace and clicking play on the displayed video.
- Via Panopto Recordings - If your instructor has instructed you to view their videos by going to "Panopto recordings", then within the course in Brightspace, you will click on Toolbox > Panopto Recordings and all of the videos available for this course should be shown in a list. Clicking on a video should take you to a page where you can click Play to begin watching.
Some instructors build formative quizzes into their Panopto videos. If this is true of your course, do not be alarmed if the video playback stops and waits for your response to a question. Once the question is answered you will be able to continue playback. A video may have one or several quizzes, which may or may not be graded. Please refer to the course syllabus for information on grades.
Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor
Respondus Lockdown Browser is a software application that runs on Windows PCs and Apple Desktop and Laptop computers. It helps to protect the integrity of quiz and exam attempts by preventing some features of the student's computer for the duration of any quiz or exam that requires it. Respondus Monitor uses the same installed computer application but goes a step further by using the microphone and web camera of the computer to record the student for the duration of the quiz or exam.
If you are enrolled in a course that is using this software for assessments, the instructor will provide information and instructions to install the software and how to use the application to take your quizzes and exams.
As you are reading this, you may already know that it will be required for one or more of your courses. If that is the case, feel free to use the link below to go to the Respondus Lockdown Browser download page to download and install the software.
Please note: This software can only be installed on Windows PCs and Apple computers. It will not run on any brand of Chromebook, phones, or tablets, with the exception of iPads which can be used at the individual course instructor's discretion. If you are taking courses that require Lockdown Browser or Monitor for exams and quizzes, it is imperative that you have access to a Windows or Apple computer on which you have the ability to install this software.