What do you need to have for an online course?

Internet Requirements:

Internet Access
To participate in Web-based courses, you must have access to the Internet through an Service Provider (ISP).

Internet Access Options
Dial-up Modems use traditional phone lines to provide Internet access. You must gain access through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The connection speed depends on the quality of the phone lines and the speed of the modem. The fastest modems are 56K modems. For dial-up service you will need a modem and phone service.

DSL and Cable Service
Provides high-bandwidth (approximately 25 times faster than a 56k Dial-up Modem), and an always-on connection to the Internet. Both DSL and Cable provide Internet connections.

A Digital Subscriber Line(DSL)Service
Provides Internet access via special phone lines. The ISP is usually a telephone company. The connection speed depends on the type of DSL service you have (in order from slowest to fastest: IDSL, ADSL, SDSL). For DSL service you will need a DSL modem connected to an Ethernet network interface card (NIC) in your computer.

Cable Internet Service
Provides internet access via cable television wiring. The ISP is usually a cable television company. Connection speeds may be faster than DSL but your cable line is shared with others and the speed could vary depending on the number of users. For Cable service, you will need a Cable modem connected to an Ethernet network interface card (NIC) in your computer.

Hardware Requirements:

These recommendations have been developed to achieve the following minimum standards for personal computing at B-CU.

  • A desktop or notebook computer with sufficient resources to run current software products with very good performance
  • 1GB RAM minimum/2GB RAM preferred
  • PC or Macintosh
  • B-CU supports WindowsXP
  • A good quality surge protector
  • USB memory device

Software Requirements

Web Browser: Internet Explorer Browser recommended

Pop-Up Blocking should be turned OFF.If ON several course features will not work properly since WebCT uses pop-up windows. If you have a program, such as Norton Security, you will either need to change the settings to accept 'webct' or turn it off while working on course items.

To turn this off in Internet Explorer:

  1. Select Tools
  2. Pop-Up Blocker
  3. Choose "Turn Off Pop-Up Blocker"

Note For AOL users: In order to prevent any potential technical glitch, AOL users may want to minimize AOL browser and pull up the Internet Explorer browser for WebCT courses.

Word Processing

Word processing is a necessity in virtually any college course today. Online students should be prepared to save word processed files as plain (ASCII) text files, to use their programs' copy & paste functions to post their work into e-mail messages and discussion messages, and to attach word processing files to e-mail.

Recommended software includes:

  • Microsoft Office XP for Windows
  • Microsoft Office 2001 for Macs

Skills Requirements

What Do I Need To Know?
Basic computer literacy is required whether you use a PC or Mac. It is highly recommended that you have a good command of your computer and its functions.

General Computer Skills

  • Word Processing
  • Copying and Pasting
  • Saving files in different formats Attachments
  • File Management
  • Disk Handling
  • Installation of Software
  • Mouse Skills
  • Protection of Hardware and Software
  • Configuration Knowledge
  • General Software Skills

Internet Skills

  • Familiarity with Terminology
  • Hardware/Software Configuration
  • Telephone Line Options
  • Dialing In/Logging In From Home
  • Dialing In/Logging In From Campus
  • Browser Software
  • Web Searching

Study Skills

  • Online Learning Skills
  • Active Learning
  • Resourcefulness
  • Coping Skills
  • Working Independently
  • Time Management
  • Organizational Skills
  • Taking Responsibility


Some courses may require other software programs in addition to those named here. See the course Web pages or consult with the course instructor about additional software requirements before registering for an online learning course.