Computer Requirements


You don't have to be technologically savvy to take an online course. However, you must be comfortable with your system and be willing to deal with any problems that may arise. Hardware and software malfunctions when you least expect it.

To do well in an online course, you should be familiar with the following:

  • Use of a Web browser
  • Handling email, including sending email attachments
  • Basic file management
  • Finding information on the Internet
  • Completing online forms

Lack of technical knowledge can greatly hinder your online learning ability. If you do not have the above skills, consider taking a computer course prior to enrolling in an online course.

Computer Minimum Configuration

CPU: 600MHz Intel Celeron processor
Memory: 64MB RAM
Hard drive: 6.4GB hard drive
CD-ROM drive
Operating System: Windows XP , 2000 or Vista

CPU: 500MHz Power PC processor (Power Macintosh)
Memory: 64MB RAM
Hard drive: 20GB Hard drive
CD-ROM drive
Operating System: Macintosh OS, current versions (OS 9.2.2/10)

Sound card and speakers

Strongly recommended:

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Web Browser Requirements

PC Users, Blackboard recommends:
Windows - FireFox, Safari or Internet Explorer 7 (or later)

Macintosh Users, Blackboard recommends:
Mac OS - Safari

Note: Javascript and cookies must be enabled in order to log into Blackboard.

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AOL Users

AOL is currently not recommended for use with Blackboard. You will need to use either Mozilla FireFox or Internet Explorer when accessing your online courses. Most computers have a pre-installed version of an external browser such as Internet Explorer. Or download now using the links above.

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Pop-up Blockers

Many newer browsers include pop-up blockers that may block quizzes, test or assignments from popping up in your Blackboard classroom. If you experience any difficulties accessing classroom materials, turn off any pop-up blockers that you may be running and attempt to access the classroom materials.

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Online courses may require you to download these and other plug-ins:

Virus Control
Computer viruses can cause damage to your computer and the files stored in it. If you send a file with a virus to someone else in your class, that person's computer may become "infected" as well. Anti-virus software is recommended and available to help protect your computer. Visit or to find out more.

NOTE: Your class may require you to download special plugins from your textbook publishers site. You will most likely need yo disable your antivirus to do this. Be sure to re-instate your anti-virus software after downloadinfg and only download from trusted sites.

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Internet Access and Email

You will need access to a computer and the Internet 3 out of 7 days a week for a total of 9 or more hours a week for each three-credit class. You can use more than one computer (home, work, and school). You will need a student network account to use the open lab and library computers.

While dial-up Internet service is usable, it is not the optimum choice for taking online classes. You may need to download/upload files that are large and will require extended download times over dial-up service.

Email is a main communication tool in your online courses. You will need to use your Garrett College student email account. If you do not have one set up, you can do so by going to roomTC 310, Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:00 to get your login information. You must present photo ID.

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Skill Requirements

Before you take an online class, you should be confident about your computer and study skills. Review the following list of requirements to assess your readiness to take online classes.

  • I know how to connect to the Web using a web browser.
  • I can navigate around the Web and know how to use search engines.
  • I know how to send and receive e-mail.
  • I know how to do basic word processing, including cutting and pasting.
  • I know how to open, save, and manage files.
  • I have access to a computer 3-5 days per week.
  • The computer I will use meets the basic requirements for online classes.
  • I have 9 to 12 hours a week to work on each online class.
  • I can motivate myself to log in to the virtual classroom at least 3 days a week.
  • I have good reading comprehension and written communication skills, and I enjoy communicating in writing.
  • I enjoy figuring things out on my own but am able to ask for help when I need it.

If you can't answer "Yes" to all these questions, you may not be quite ready for online learning.

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