If you’re not a tech geek and you’re worried that you might not have the right equipment to take an online course, take heart, you probably don’t need as much as you think. While requirements will differ by college, the basic systems that you’ll need to take an online course usually aren’t that fancy and it won’t require anything that can’t easily be picked up on a trip to a local electronics store. If you’re trying to outfit your home office for online courses, these are the essentials any new online student should have.
A fairly new computer. Laptop or desktop, it doesn’t matter, so long as its from the past two or three years you shouldn’t have a problem. Older systems may work as well, but you will need to check with your school’s tech department beforehand to ensure that you won’t be making a late night trip out to buy a new computer. Any online school will list the specifications of its software, so check and make modifications to your computer or upgrade as necessary. You’ll need to pay attention to your processor, RAM and memory to make sure your computer will be able to keep up with your education.
The right operating system. PC users will need to make sure they have at least Windows XP in order to take online courses. Some colleges may prefer Vista or Windows 7, depending on the type of media and interactive programs they’ll have students using. For Mac users, OS X 10.4 or better is generally alright, though again, newer operating systems will help improve the performance of your online material.
Useful software. You will need a good office suite and a web browser in order to take most online courses. You can use options that come standard with Windows and Mac computers or download free open source alternatives like Open Office.