Student Handbook

Technical Requirements

Is Your Computer Adequate?

Everything you do in your online classes depends on your computer and your internet connection. You will use them to view course websites with embedded audio and video elements, to download materials, to participate in online discussion groups, to submit assignments — even to create and upload video presentations. If your computer isn’t strong enough or your internet connection isn’t fast enough to handle these tasks, you will not be able to participate in the BLS classes.

Your responsibilities as a BLS student will require you to have your own computer with an internet connection. You will need to keep files and archives, and some projects will require you to work on them over time. Public computer access (e.g. public libraries) will not be adequate for these requirements.

Internet Connection: Think Broadband!

BLS classes use embedded video and audio files, and other large files such as images and PDF documents. Blackboard and e-Spartan email interfaces operate very slowly with dial-up connections. If your dial-up connection is operating at less than 56kbps, some of these sites may not function at all.

  • Recommended: Cable modem or ADSL/DSL connection.
  • Minimum: 56kbps dial-up modem (operating at full capacity).

Your Computer: Ready for Business

Traditional freshmen are required to have laptops as of the 2007-08 academic year. Online students are not required to have such portable devices; if you’re only taking online classes, you can do everything you need with a desktop computer. However, for your online classes to function properly, your computer needs to meet UNCG’s Minimum Hardware & Software Requirements.

Minimum Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Pentium M 1.6 GHz, or equivalent.
  • Minimum RAM: 2 GB.
  • Minimum Hard Drive Size: 80 GB.
  • Minimum Hard Drive Speed: 5400 rpm.
  • Optical Drive: DVD/CD-RW.
  • Screen Size/Resolution: 14″ / 1024 x 768 pixels.
  • Video Graphics Card: ≥128 MB business class.
  • Webcam: VGA (640 x 480) at 30 frames per second (for BLS courses).
  • Sound: Speakers (or earphones) & microphone.
  • USB slots: Two USB 2.0 powered.
  • Ethernet: 10/100 Integrated.
  • Modem: ≥56kbps (Cable or ADSL/DSL recommended).

Minimum Software Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows XP Professional / Mac OS X.
  • Software Suite: Microsoft Office Professional.
  • Antivirus Software: 2005 product year or later (update weekly).
  • Internet Browser: Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or Microsoft IE 6.0 (free downloads).
  • PDF Reader: Adobe Reader (free download).
  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player (free download).
  • QuickTime Player: Apple QuickTime Player (free download).

Your Skills: Advanced End-User

Just as your online classes depend on your computer and your internet connection, they also depend on your ability to use these tools. You will need to be able to do all these tasks fluently:

  • Navigate complicated, password-protected websites.
  • Create, name, save, organize, and back-up files and folders.
  • Create and edit documents in MSWord, and save them as .doc or .rtf files.
  • Create, send, receive, open, and save email attachments.
  • Navigate, read, and post to threaded online discussion groups.
  • Download files from websites and upload files using web portals.
  • Copy and paste information from source materials, and format it to match destination materials (e.g. pulling a quote from a web source to use in an essay).
  • Create and upload web-resolution video presentations (for SI courses).

If you want to brush up on your basic user skills, you may find these sites helpful: