Online Technology Requirements

What Technologies Do I Need to Be Successful in Online or Blended Courses?

James Madison University wants all students taking an online or blended course to be successful. To facilitate your success, there are certain technologies you need to have ready access to, such as a personal computer and software appropriate to the courses you are taking and your field of study. Students can meet this expectation by purchasing or leasing a computer, using a computer lab on campus, or sharing a computer with a roommate or family member. A tablet or hand-held device may provide you with access to your course in Canvas, but may not enable you to produce the sorts of documents or multimedia files you may need to produce in your courses. You will also need to have reliable access to the Internet with good download and upload speeds, at least 512 kbps.

Recommended Minimum Computer Configuration – (as of June 2016)

If you have a PC:

  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Windows 8 Professional Operating System
  • Microsoft Office 2013 or Microsoft Office 365

If you have a Macintosh:

  • Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM
  • OSX 10.10 Yosemite Operating System
  • Microsoft Office 2013 or Microsoft Office 365

Our Information Technology Office has more information on our recommended minimum computer configurations.

To help students have the recommended technology needed for their major, our Information Technology Office has also compiled a list of recommended computer configurations by major.

The JMU Bookstore can help you to purchase and finance a computer.

Other Hardware and Software Needed

If needed, one of these screenreaders:

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer)
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome

You will also need a headset with a microphone, speakers, a webcam, and antivirus software. JMU has purchased licenses for Symantec Anti-Virus for your use, including home computers. Contact your program for other technology requirements more specific to your degree.

Minimum Technology Skills Needed

  • Basic applications skills: create, open, save, print, and edit documents.
  • Ability to download and install from the Internet.
  • Ability to upload documents.
  • Ability to navigate the Internet.
  • Ability to use search engines for research.
  • Ability to send and receive e-mails with attachments.

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