Technical Requirements

You do not need to have the newest computer and world-class internet connection to attend courses online. You also don't need to be a computer expert. However, we do recommend a general comfort level with computers and the internet, along with the following technical specifications to avoid technical issues while attending your online class and submitting your work online.

Personal Computer Knowledge

There are a few computer skills that are required for success in online courses. If you are unfamiliar with how to do any of the tasks below, we recommend that you find someone who can provide you with assistance. You should be able to:

  • Use a word processor to create documents with headings, bullets, and tables
  • Use "save as" to save these word processor documents in different formats (for example, .rtf format)
  • View PowerPoint presentations
  • Use email, including attaching and downloading files
  • Find information on the internet using an internet search engine
  • Download and install software on your computer
  • Read, save, and print Adobe PDF documents

Computer Equipment and Software

If your computer is close to these minimums, we strongly recommend you save your work on your computer before submitting it to prevent losing any work—though this is good advice for all users.

  PC Mac
Hardware

OS

Windows XP or newer

OS X (10.5 or newer)

Processor

Pentium IV or equivalent

G4 or newer

RAM*

512 MB

512 MB

Video

800x600 or higher resolution

800x600 or higher resolution

Audio

Sound card and speakers

Sound card and speakers

CD/DVD Drive

Access to DVD player preferred

Access to DVD player preferred

Software

Browser

- Internet Explorer 8 and higher (IE 8 only in Windows XP)
- Firefox 3.6 and higher
-Chrome (Stable Channel)
- Safari not supported for Windows

- Safari 4.0 and higher
- Firefox 3.6 and higher
- Chrome (Stable Channel)
- Internet Explorer not supported for Macs

Word Processor**

Microsoft Word 2003 or above recommended

Microsoft Word 2003 or above recommended

PDFs

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader

Internet

Network Card

Ethernet or wireless network card recommended (56k modem minimum if using dail-up)

Reliable Internet Connection

High Speed (T1, DSL, Cable or Satellite) recommended; Dial-up only if 56k

* If you have minimal RAM you may want to avoid having many other programs open at the same time you are using Blackboard.
**If you are not using Microsoft Word, we recommend saving documents as .rtf files for compatibility.

Tips

  • Allow pop-ups from Blackboard sites
  • Spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel) and media player software (such as Windows Media Player, Quicktime, or VLC) may be needed for some courses.
  • You may be asked to download the most current versions of Java, Flash or Shockwave to support various course or research tasks.
  • Anti-virus software: anyone interacting on the internet should strongly consider installing active anti-virus and anti-malware protection. There are many good programs available (for purchase or for free). You will want to choose the right solution for your needs.

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