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Computer System and Software Requirements for use with Blackboard

Operating System

Your computer's operating system should have Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, or 7) or Macintosh OSX (10.6) or above.

NOTE:
If you are taking a Computer Science course, please check with your instructor for the appropriate operating system and software requirements.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Your ISP is the company that provides your Internet service, such as Comcast, AT&T, Free Wi-Fi on-campus, at a local cafe or library. etc. It doesn't matter which ISP you use; just make sure it's reliable and high speed. While it is possible to access Blackboard using Dial-up connections, users may experience performance issues with certain Blackboard functions.

Web Browser

While we suggest that you have more than one browser installed on your computer or mobile device, we recommend the use of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Having at least two browsers on your computer or mobile device provide an option when you encounter a problem in one browser.

  • Mozilla Firefox (recommended): Click here to download Mozilla Firefox (free download).
    Versions: Release Update Channel (The Firefox Release Channel is the latest fully tested version by Mozilla. Updated roughly every six weeks, it is intended to be the most stable. For further detail, visit http://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2011/04/13/new-channels-for-firefox-rapid-releases ).
     
  • Google Chrome (recommended): Click here to download Google Chrome (free download).
    Versions: Chrome Stable Channel (The Chrome Stable Channel is the fully tested version by Google and intended to be the most stable as the name implies. This channel is updated every two-three weeks for minor releases and six weeks for major releases. For further detail, visit www.chromium.org ).  
     
  • Safari: While Safari is compatible, issues have been reported by users of Safari. If you are using an Mac/Apple Computer/ibook, etc., please also use Firefox or Chrome instead of the provided Safari browser.
     
  • We no longer recommend using the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser with Blackboard due to reported errors. However, if you choose to use Internet Explorer, be sure to enable Compatibility View by clicking the icon on the right side of the address bar.

Mobile Devices

If you are using a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, etc. to access Blackboard, you can use the Blackboard Mobile App.

Note: While the Blackboard Mobile App is recommended for students; instructors should use the browser on their mobile device to access editing and grading capabilities. Please note that the Google Chrome browser App is available on iPad or iPhone and is recommended for those accessing Blackboard on mobile devices outside of the Blackboard Mobile App.

Java Script

JavaScript must be enabled. Java Runtime Environment must be enabled. Please make sure you have the latest version of Java SE.

Cookies

Blackboard requires that your browser allows cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored in your computer and contain information from web sites, such as your preferences when visiting those sites. To enable cookies in Firefox:

  • From the Tools menu, click Options.
  • Click Privacy.
  • Click the Privacy tab.
  • Check the box next to Accept Cookies from Sites.
  • Click Ok.

Pop-up Windows

You must allow pop-up windows in order to use all of Blackboard's features. To allow pop-up windows in Firefox:

  • From the upper menu, click Tools
  • Select Options.
  • Select the Content panel.
  • Uncheck Block pop-up windows.
  • Click Ok.

Browser Updates

If you are not sure if your browser is updated, see which version you are on and update:

  • From the menu bar, select Help.
  • Select About Firefox
  • This will show the version you are using, as well as allow you to update if needed.

Clear your Browser Cache:

There are numerous issues that are resolved by simply clearing your browser cache.

How to Clear your Browser Cache

 

Other Computer Requirements:

Hardware:

  • 2GB RAM (2GB or higher is optimal)
  • 1GB of free disk space
  • 2GHz processor speed (faster processor speed = better performance)
  • Sound card and speakers (speakers may be built in)

Accessibility:

While Blackboard strives to accommodate all assistive technology, JAWS for Windows versions 11 & 12 were used for accessibility testing.

Plug-ins

In order to view certain multimedia elements and documents on the Web, you need specific plug-ins. Your instructor will tell you exactly which plug-ins you need for your course. The most popular are QuickTime, RealPlayer, Flash, Shockwave, and Acrobat Reader, and they are all freely downloadable.

Software

It's always best to have a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, on your computer. This way, prior to submitting assignments, you can check your work for spelling and grammar errors before copying and pasting it into Blackboard (for example, into a Discussion Board forum).

If you don't already have the Microsoft Office suite, a free alternative includes OpenOffice, which is the leading open-source office software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases, and more.

Alternatively, you can use Google Docs, in which you can create a document online, then download it to your computer in the Word format. Google Docs is available when you log into Zonemail.

Saving files

If your instructor requires you to submit specifically formatted files through Blackboard or via email, we recommend you submit using the proper file extensions. Word document (.doc or .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or .pdf are the most common file extensions. By ensuring that you have the proper file extension, you are ensuring that your instructor will be able to open your submitted file. Please note that Mac users may have to type in the file extension (.docx, .xlsx, .ppt, .rtf, .pdf) when saving a file.

 

 

 
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