Blackboard Minimum Technical Specifications

The minimum technical specifications for Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) are listed below.

  • Expand the “Internet Connection – Speed Test” toggle and use the link to test the speed of your internet service.
  • Do the readings match the minimum specifications for Internet speed?
  • Review the “toggle” elements below and make sure all elements meet the minimum requirements.

decorationPrintable/Accessible Version Blackboard Technical Specs. 

Internet Connection - Speed Test

Your internet connection is one of the most important components to achieve a rewarding online experience.  A slow internet connection may cause the LMS to timeout or limit access to course materials. 

  • See the minimum specification below for your High-Speed Broadband service.
  • An internet speed test is provided below to check both upload and download speeds.

decorationHigh-Speed Broadband 512kbps

  • Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.

decorationInternet Speed Test – https://bit.ly/2KzkzPG

line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Using public internet connections (restaurants, public libraries) may cause the learning management system to timeout or have limited access to the course and materials. These same type connections may also restrict access  due to security limitations.

Hardware Requirements

Devices used to successfully complete online course work should be reviewed and checked against minimum technical specifications of the institutions LMS. The devices should be reliable with an up-to-date operating system.  The internet connection should be at least a broadband service and reliable.

decorationHardware Specifications:

  • Use a computer 5 years old or newer when possible
  • Processor (Central Processing Unit) 2 GHz + 
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) 1 GB +
  • Storage (Hard Drive) 250 GB (minimum)
  • Monitor minimum resolution (800 x 600)
  • Video Graphics Card 
  • Keyboard and Mouse

decorationComputer Peripherals:  

  • Speakers
  • Headphones – (Noise-cancelling headset is recommended)
  • Microphone
  • Web Camera
line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Public access computers may not allow access to web cameras.
Software Requirements

decorationSystem Check

  •  The system check will test JavaScript, Cookies, and Browser for compatibility.

decorationOperating System Requirements

  • Personal Computer – Your PC operating system should be at least Windows 7 or newer (full version not RT or Mobile). It is best to upgrade to a newer operating system if possible.
  • Check the latest operating system on windows – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13443/windows-which-operating-system
  • How to update windows to a later version – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4028685/windows-10-get-the-update (windows 10 2018 update instructions)
  • Windows Update” – It is also important that you run “Windows Update” to ensure you have all the latest security patches and updates.
  • Follow the steps below:
    1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Depending on which Control Panel view you use, Classic or Category, do one of the following:
      1. Click System, and then click the Automatic Updates tab.
      2. Click Performance and Maintenance, click System, and then click the Automatic Updates tab.
    3. Click the option that you want. Make sure Automatic Updates is not turned off.

decorationBrowser Requirements/Supported Browsers

  • Does your institution’s learning management system require a specific browser and/or software for online coursework?
line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Using the incorrect browser may cause course content to display improperly or not at all. It’s all about compatibility.

Browsers that work well include:

The internet browsers you will need are as follow:

  • Firefox (FF 64 or higher) – https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
  • Google Chrome (C71 or higher) – https://www.google.com/chrome/
  • Apple Safari (S11 or higher) – https://support.apple.com/downloads/safari (Mac)
  • Internet Explorer (11 or higher)
  • Edge (42 or higher)

decorationApplication Software

  • Microsoft Office 2016 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) (Mac or PC)
  • Adobe Reader – https://get.adobe.com/reader/
line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Consult Microsoft Office help and training – https://support.office.com/ for additional help using Microsoft Office. Check with your instructor for information on downloads that may be available at no cost from your institution. For example, Microsoft Office may be available at no charge to you.

 

decorationPlug-ins

In addition to having the necessary software, oftentimes additional plugins are needed to ensure compatibility with other media such as animations, sound clips, or PDFs. Some of the common plugins include:

line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.These are free downloads. Always check and keep your browser, plugins and other software up to date. Search your institution’s website or check your course syllabus for specific software requirements.
Navigating the Online Learning Environment

decorationCommunication

In the online classroom, you will use a variety of tools to participate in your online class. Most communication is written communication. Written communication allows you to get to know your instructor and other students in your class. Unlike oral communication, written communication allows you to take the time to edit and revise documents and other communications before they are submitted or viewed by others. Here are some topics to consider.

decorationDiscussion boards

The discussion board is commonly used in the online classroom allowing you to post and reply to text-based messages on a common topic. For example: an instructor may post a question or prompt, then require each student to reply. It is common for instructors to include an “Introduce Yourself” discussion to encourage interaction and allow students to find common interests. Here are items to consider for participation in discussion boards.

  • Share a related experience–your personal experiences, experiences of friends or family, or something you have read or seen (especially in the news).
  • Expand on others’ experiences or expand on the main theme of the question (or class material for that unit).
  • Quoting the text or other resource you have found is a great way to make a connection back to the topic.
  • Ask students questions about their ideas/experiences.
  • Try to use your posting to add value to the discussion. This is more effective than simply responding to meet a requirement.
  • Consider an idea being discussed and offer a different perspective on it.
  • Describe an interesting idea from the week’s reading and explain what insights you gained from it.
  • Ask the group a question about the week’s reading.
  • Provide an opposing argument for something presented in our text by providing a resource/source that demonstrates another view.
  • Disagree (respectfully, of course) with a point that someone else has made (asking a question such as “what about…” or “what if…” can be respectful approaches to show nother view)
  • Discuss a related issue on which you would like some feedback.
  • Describe how you have applied the recent course concepts to your personal/professional life.
  • Share another resource you have used as you explored the course topics.

decorationEmail

Email is another commonly used form of written communication used in online courses. Use email when a private conversation is needed to ask questions of a more personal nature. For instance, if you have a question about your grade or need clarification on an assignment, email may be the preferred method of communication. Here are some items to consider when using email communications.

  • Double check to whom you are sending email. Learn the difference between “reply” and “reply all”. It can be embarrassing when an email meant for one person is read by others.
  • Use a meaningful subject line so readers have a clear idea of what your message is about. Instructors may include a protocol for email communications in the course syllabus.
  • Using capital letters in email is equivalent to shouting.
line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Here are a few resources to help you learn more about email communications

 

decorationPhone

In some cases, it is best to initiate a phone or text-based conversation with your instructor or other participants in the class. For instance, if you are working on a group project, consider how a group-messaging app or web conferencing might be a more efficient way to communicate. Here are some items to consider when using phone or text-based communications.

  • A private conversation or phone call is more secure than email.
  • If you are attempting to communicate with someone who has not responded to email, you may want to use the phone instead.

decorationNetiquette

Guidelines are in place to help you effectively communication in your online class. Netiquette defines how you will behave in the online classroom. Here are some items to consider for appropriate communications.

  • Be polite and respectful. Good online manners are necessary to promote a productive and supportive online learning environment
  • Be tolerant of views that may or may not agree with your own. Be open-minded and keep in mind you may have something to gain from learning of others’ views and backgrounds on topics discussions.
  • When responding to another students’ post, stay on topic to address the ideas, not the person.
  • Be cautious when using sarcasm or humor. Without face-to-face communications, people may take your humor personally and be offended by expressions that are commonplace in your every day conversations.
  • Make sure your subject line is meaningful in all online communications.

decorationAnnouncements or News

Watch your course home page carefully to view general announcements from your instructor. These announcements may be timely reminders of upcoming due dates for assignments or other very important course-related information.

decorationAssignments

An assignment tool is used in your online course so that you are able to directly upload files for the instructor to review and provide feedback and grades. Be sure to chedk the course syllabus or instructions for the assignment to know the guidelines for a specific file type for these submissions.

decorationGrades

The grades area of the course provides a way for you to check you progress in the course. Some items are graded automatically while others are graded manually and require instructor feedback. It is important that you closely monitor your grades and communicate quickly with your instructor to discuss any discrepancies.

line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Check your institution’s website or the course syllabus for links to additional tutorials to help you navigate your learning management system.
Troubleshooting Course Technology

For online students, technical problems are more than a nuisance. As technology will vary from course to course, search your institution’s website or the course syllabus for troubleshooting guides or tutorials. Here are a few questions to consider to quickly resolve technical questions.

  • Have you emailed your instructor?
  • Are there tutorials or resources available?
  • Have you submitted a support ticket?
  • Is there a helpdesk available to answer technical questions by phone?
line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Sometimes things will not work like they are supposed to. Before contacting the helpdesk, check to see if your software is up to date.

 

Minimum Technical Requirements

decorationResponsive Design

The eLearning LMS has a responsive design accommodating both desktop computers and smart devices (i.e. phones, notebooks, Ipad). All work can be done within this course on any device. Note: If taking an exam or quiz, consider using a desktop with a non-wifi connection to ensure you are able to successfully complete the assessment.

decorationPop-up Blockers

If you are unable to access content in your online course, the problem may be due to the settings of the pop-up blocker in your browser. You will need to allow pop-ups in order to resolve this issue. The process will be different depending on the internet browser type. Please see the links below to find instructions on how to allow pop-ups in your browser.

  • Chrome – https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95472
  • Firefox – https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/pop-blocker-settings-exceptions-troubleshooting
Assistive Technology Specifications
decorationFederal law requires colleges to provide an equal opportunity to students with disabilities to participate in and receive the benefits of an educational program. When applied to online coursework, this means that materials used for instruction must be accessible to all students.

Video and Audio Resources

Whenever video or audio resources are used in the online classroom, the instructor will ensure the content is accessible to all students. For instance, if a student is hearing impaired, the media resource should provide the audio in an alternate format. For students who are not able to see, the media resource should provide a visual component for the student.

Screen Readers

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari) – http://www.apple.com/accessibility/mac/vision/
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer) – http://www.freedomscientific.com/Products/Blindness/JAWS
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox) – http://www.nvaccess.org/
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome

Accessibility Tools

Many common software applications have built-in features to help make the course content more accessible to students with disabilities. Most applications allow you to modify the size, color, and style of the font, which can be helpful for low-vision students. Also, the computer operating system may have accessibility features to magnify the screen, change the size of icons, or adjust the way the mouse and keyboard react. Visit the links below for detailed information on accessibility features and information about how these technologies can be applied to assist.

  • Apple – http://www.apple.com/accessibility
  • Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/enable

Resources

15 Assistive Technology Tools for Students with Disabilities – https://www.teachthought.com/technology/15-assistive-technology-tools-resources-for-students-with-disabilities/

line light bulb colored purple. Denotes important information.Consult your institution’s ADA Coordinator for assistance with assistive technology needs.