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What is a browser?

A browser is the window you open to access Internet sites. Some examples of browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

At WSU Global Campus:

  • Students must use Chrome for Global Campus online proctoring sessions. Download Chrome here.
  • Chrome and Firefox are the recommended browsers for Blackboard Learn.

Things to know

Once in the browser, there are some areas you should be familiar with:

Address bar

address line in a browser window, with as the address
The address bar is where you type in a URL, or web address, to navigate to the location you wish to view. In this example, the URL for the Washington State University home page is listed:

Common browser buttons 

Shown below are Chrome’s browser buttons

Home iconHome: Takes you to the browser’s home page, or the first page you see when you open the browser

Back icon - left arrowBack: Takes you back to pages previously viewed during the session

Forward icon - right arrowForward: After you have used the back button, takes you ahead to pages previously viewed

Refresh iconRefresh: Reloads the page you are currently on

PC browser buttons: minus, stacked windows, xThis set of buttons is located in the upper right hand corner of PC browsers: The button on the left (looks like a horizontal line) minimizes the browser to the bottom of your computer screen, the middle button (overlapping squares) maximizes the screen so it fits the entire computer monitor, and the right hand button (X) closes the browser page.

mac browser buttons - red, yellow, green dotsThis set of buttons is located in the upper left hand corner of MAC browsers. The red dot will close the browser page, the yellow dot will minimize the browser to the bottom of your computer screen, and the green dot will maximize the page to fill the monitor.


hamburger menu icon Menu allows you to view settings and make changes to your browser

Browser tabs

tabs in a browser, with the new tab button circled in red

Tabs allow you to have multiple web pages open at the same time within the same browser.

To open a new page, click in the small tab to the right of all open tabs (circled above in red). On some browsers, you’ll see a plus sign (+) in the small tab.


URLs kept in the bookmarks bar

For easy access to websites you visit often, you can keep web addresses in the Bookmarks Bar.

How to clear your browsing history in Chrome

When you need to access videos, or connect with the proctoring service, your video feeds will run much smoother if you first clear your browser history. By doing so, you clear the history of all websites you have visited or interacted with.

If you are experiencing issues during an online proctored exam, your proctor may ask you to clear your browser’s history while trying to resolve the problem. Below are steps on how to clear your Chrome browsing history:

  • Open the Chrome Browser, select the Menu, then select History. The History tab will open.
  • Select the box labeled Clear browsing data.
  • In the menu that appears, select the beginning of time from the toggle box and check the following items:
    • Browsing history
    • Download history
    • Cookies and other site and plug-in data
    • Cached images and files
      Clear browsing data window, with the beginning of time highlighted in yellow, and the first four checkboxes - browsing history, download history, cookies and other site and plug-in dta, and cached images and file - checked and highlighted in yellow
  • Select the box labeled Clear browsing data.
  • When the pop up box closes, close the Settings tab.
  • Refresh the browser, or close and reopen it.