Online Learning Tech Requirements - Black Hawk College

Online Learning Tech Requirements

Online programs at Black Hawk College utilize Canvas as the online education platform for students to interact with their instructor and fellow students and to complete assignments. To operate Canvas, students must have basic internet skills, consistent access to a Windows PC or Mac, and know how to perform the following tasks:

  • Upload files as email attachments.
  • Submit online assignments.
  • Use discussion boards, email and chats.
  • Use Microsoft Office software, primarily MS Word.

Note: Do not rely on smartphones or Chromebooks. Access to website functionality and required course materials is limited on mobile devices, and Chromebooks do not support the necessary software.

Apply to use a free laptop or PC by filling out the Technology Loan Application.


GENERAL COMPUTER AND SKILL REQUIREMENTS

Students also must have compatible hardware and software. Please explore the following areas to learn more about online tech requirements at Black Hawk College.

Computer Requirements
  1. Hardware:
    • Students must primarily use a desktop computer or laptop (Windows PC or Mac).
    • Google Chromebooks are not compatible with the required software and therefore cannot be used for online classes.
    • Online classes cannot be completed on a smartphone or tablet, but they can be used as a secondary means of communication by using the Canvas Mobile App.
  2. Minimum Screen Size:
    • Windows PC: 1280 x 768
    • Mac: 1280 x 800
  3. Compatible Operating Systems:
    • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher
    • Mac: OSX 10.10 or higher.
  4. Random Access Memory (RAM)
    • Windows PC: 4 GB RAM (for most PCs); 2 GB RAM (on a 32-bit system)
    • Mac: 4 GB RAM
  5. Processor:
    • Windows PC: 2.0 GHz processor
    • Mac: Intel
  6. High-Speed Internet Connection:
    • High-speed/broadband access is required for most courses.
    • Do not rely on public Wi-Fi or dial-up access. The use of public access Wi-Fi (for example, at restaurants or libraries) may result in slowness or errors.
  7. Supported Web Browsers:
    • Be sure you have the latest version of your favorite web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.
    • Internet Explorer is not supported.
    • Tip: If you have trouble with one browser, try a different one.
  8. Word Processing Software:
    • Most courses require word-processing such as MS Word and the ability to save files as .docx, .doc, .rtf or .pdf.
    • BHC students can get MS Office for free. Directions for downloading MS Office.
  9. Canvas Mobile App
    • Again, do not rely on smartphones and tablets. They can be used as a secondary means of access to course materials but their functionality is limited.
    • Android: Version 5.0 or higher.
    • iOS: Version 13.0 or higher.
    • How to download the Canvas Mobile App

 

Microphone, Speakers & Webcam (or Audio & Video)
  • Some courses will require a microphone to use with Canvas ConferencesZoom.us or web proctoring.
  • Some webcams and laptops have microphones already built in. If yours does not, you may need to purchase a webcam or microphone.
  • Headphone/earbuds/speakers for listening.
  • A webcam/camera capable of video conferencing or recording speeches (SPEC 101).
Exams and Testing

Some courses will require you to take exams in-person or monitored online. These are also known as a "proctored exams." These exams are taken at a BHC Testing Center or via BHC's web proctoring tools.

The first tool is Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB), which does not work with personal Chromebooks. Click here for RLDB installation instructions.

The second tool is Respondus Monitor. Some courses require a test to be proctored via RLDB and Respondus Monitor. Please watch this video to learn more about Respondus Monitor.

Courses that are completely online might give you the choice to take a proctored test at a BHC Testing Center.

Respondus Monitor requires:

  • Webcam with microphone.
  • High-speed/broadband internet connection.
  • Installation of BHC’s RLDB.
  • Identification: You will be required to take a picture of your government-issued photo ID or Black Hawk College Student ID. Acceptable ID includes driver's license, photo ID card or your Black Hawk College Student ID. The ID must include your photo and name. (You may cover up personal information, e.g. driver's license number, address, weight, height, etc.)

 

Accessibility
Further Information

For further information regarding technical requirements, please visit these links:

Note: These are the basic requirements for most online classes. Please check for a "Course Objectives and Technical Requirements" link for any class that you are taking or thinking about taking to see if there are further requirements. Search courses here.

Remember to have a backup plan! When taking an online course it is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of connection issues and/or equipment failure. Most libraries have internet access, or you may have a friend you can call on in the event of technical problems. The Black Hawk College computer labs also are available during hours of operation. Having a backup plan can prevent lots of stress later!