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Getting Started as a DE Student

We hope this overview will help you get started with the tech tools you'll need to begin your academic adventure at ECU and the College of Nursing. This information sheet contains links to various pages within the ECU website related to tools that will be important to you at ECU, including your ECU email, your ECU passphrase, and Pirate Port.

Three excellent links for getting starting with technology at ECU:

Top Questions and Answers

IT Help Desk:

Learning Technologies:

Your PirateID (ECU username) and Passphrase (ECU password):
Student PirateIDs are last name and first initial plus the two-digit year of enrollment. For example, student James Frederick Pate was accepted to ECU for fall 2010. Therefore, student James Pate's PirateID is "patej10."

Your PirateID (ECU username) can be found in your Admissions letter.

You can also find your PirateID (ECU username) by going to:

Type your last name and first name and click "Search".  Your e-mail address will then be displayed.  Your PirateID (ECU username) is the first part of your e-mail address (excluding "").

ECU ID (Banner ID):
Your ECU ID can be found in your First Year Center letter, which should arrive two weeks after your Admissions letter (see below for additional information on your ECU ID).

Your ECU ID is a unique number that you've been assigned and which identifies you as a student at East Carolina University. Your ECU ID, also known as your Banner ID (but different than your PirateID), will always be your identification within the ECU system.  It will be required for very important functions such as registering for orientation, checking financial aid, and taking placement tests for math, chemistry, and foreign languages.

Important: if you forget your ECU ID (Banner ID) or passphrase, go to: and enter your Pirate ID (ECU username). Answer your previously-supplied security questions to view your ECU ID (Banner ID), to change your passphrase, and/or to unlock your email account.

You can also find your ECU ID (Banner ID) in Pirate Port.

This is your ECU network password that you set for your accounts at ECU when you first activate your PirateID.

PirateID accounts are activated through the Pirate ID (PID) auto-registration system ( Students are then able to set up their initial passphrase and authentication questions. ECU users are required to change their passphrase every 90 days. The authentication questions are used to log in to the passphrase maintenance system after the initial registration.

Once your PirateID is registered and your passphrase is created, your can log in to the ECU e-mail account, Pirate Port, Blackboard and other electronic resources.

To register your passphrase, go to:
Important: Passphrases must contain characters from three of the four following categories: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (*, #, @, etc.). Also, your new passphrase cannot contain any part of your PirateID and must be at least eight characters in length.

Pirate Port:
Pirate Port is ECU's "one stop for everything!" You will find important university announcements here. You can review financial aid information, register for courses, look up your grades and access a number of useful tools.

To access Pirate Port, go to:

Once in Pirate Port, to find you ECU ID, log in using your PirateID (ECU username) and passphrase (password).

Once logged in, choose the "Tools" tab, then select the "What is My ECU (Banner) ID" link located in the "Banner" section.  Your ECU ID will be displayed.

Your ECU email Account:
You are provided an ECU email account. Students are required to use their ECU email account for all communications related to your classes.  All email communication for your courses that originates from Blackboard, all email communication that originates from your instructors, and all official email communication that comes from the university will use your ECU email address.  You must use your ECU email address for school-related communications.  If you try to use a free email account such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail, there is a high probability that your email will be intercepted by the university email spam filters and not be received.

For more information about your email, go to:

To check your email:

IT Help Desk:
The university has an online and telephone operated help desk.

You can access the ECU IT Help Desk online at:

The Help Desk offers technical assistance to ECU students, including software support, answers to general technology-related questions, getting connected to the university network, and more.

Regular Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
After-Hours Student Support: Sunday-Thursday (24 hours a day)
Friday-Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Phone Support: 252-328-9866: Toll Free:1-800-340-7081

Computer/Software Requirements:
You will need to have access to a reliable computer with an internet connection. Students are not required to purchase a specific computer brand, although one might realize a cost savings by purchasing one of the recommended models from the preferred vendors through the ECU Dowdy Student Stores.

All enrolled students are eligible for free Microsoft products!  Products can be instantly downloaded or CD/DVD media can be ordered (students pay shipping).

You can download the software using this link: Microsoft4Students

You will need the current Microsoft Office suite for you nursing classes. You can download Microsoft Office Software using this link: Office 365

You can download other applications such as SPSS and SAS from the ECU Download center

The Student Store also offers a significant savings to students on other software.

You can access the online Dowdy Student Storefront here:

ACE Student Computer Support Center:
The ACE program works with computer manufacturers to provide you discount pricing on computers and peripherals that can be purchased through the ECU Dowdy Student Stores. With technical support offices in Rawl room 108 on east campus and room 3330 of the Health Sciences Building on west campus, ACE provides technical assistance to students with ACE and non-ACE laptops. For ECU students not enrolled in a requiring program, purchase of a computer is optional; however, any student can take advantage of the special pricing and support.

More about the ACE program at:

VCL (Virtual Computing Lab):
The ECU Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) allows students to use computer software either requested for a course by the instructor or the Microsoft Office, Adobe and statistical software products available to everyone.  This is a really nice resource folks, and it works well. You can use all the Adobe software, and many other tools, from your computer at home.

Try it out:

Additional Information on Technology at ECU
For more information and resources related to computing resources at ECU, click