All right, my next couple articles about technology and technical skills needed to thrive in the online college world may be a bit rudimentary for you. However, I thought it would be best to be better safe than sorry. So if you’re a whiz kid you will most likely breeze through these next few, if not, then I hope these will help you out.

If you got a new computer you will most likely not have to worry about any specific technology requirements unless you are taking an advanced class in a computer related field, in multimedia creation, or in another program that requires you to have specific software. Most computers come preinstalled with all the requirements you’re going to need for most online college classes. But just to be safe here are some requirements an online university may post on their site to help you make sure you’re ready for their programs.

Minimum hardware requirements

Processing Speed: 1 to 2 GHz for PCs or Windows-based computers and G3 800 G4 15o GHz for Macs

RAM (random access memory): 1 to 2 GB for PCs/Windows, the same for Macs

Hard drive: 20 to 30 GB of free hard drive space for PCs and the same for Macs

Screen resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution, the same for Macs

Speakers: sound card with external speakers or jack for headphones for PC and Macs

Microphone: required in order to attend instructors or virtual office hours; a headset with microphone is highly recommended

WebCam (optional): six 40 x 4 80 video pixel resolution – some online course programs and classes will require this

This information can easily be found on your computer by looking at your hard drive (typically drive C:) properties.  These requirements are slightly different for each college so you’re going to want to double check the specific ones for your institution. If this information is not readily available on your college’s website, don’t hesitate to get on the phone with them and ask for help. It most likely won’t be a problem but better to check before running into problems in your first class.

As computers improve in quality online colleges will most likely increase their basic requirements needed for their courses. If you have a computer from the Ice Age or don’t have one at all, check with your college to see if you can get one at a lower price. A lot of institutions have agreements with computer companies to provide their students with great deals both on equipment and software programs. If you can get any deals from your school, make sure to get a list of the minimum requirements needed for classes to take with you when looking for a computer to purchase. This will help a sales rep make sure you get the right requirements on your new computer.

In the next couple articles I will dive down into what the specific hardware and software requirements are all about. This will be helpful for you if you’re fairly new to computers or have just had a hard time keeping up with all the new technology.

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