Technology Requirements for Online/Hybrid Courses
All online courses require access to the Internet. Unless you will be traveling to a campus computer lab, you will need to have access to your own computer and a high-speed Internet Service Provider. A webcam and a headset or microphone for your computer is recommended and may be required.
You should be proficient in the following:
- basic computer skills
- sending/receiving email
- sending and receiving attachments via email
- using a web browser
- finding resources through search engines
- downloading and installing software
- familiarity with using browser plug-ins (e.g. PDF reader, video, audio)
- using a word processing, presentation software, or other productivity applications
- experience/familiarity with a variety of file formats such as: .pdf "Portable Document Format", .rtf "Rich Text Format", .doc or .docx "Microsoft Word Document", and .txt "Text document"
- familiarity with using document scanners or document scanning apps to convert handwritten work to a PDF file (How to create PDF files and submit them on Blackboard)
- the ability to be self-directed in learning new technology skills (e.g. following a handout, a step-by-step tutorial, online video help, or access to support to learn necessary skills)
Computer Minimum Requirements
- PC, Mac, Chromebook or tablet
- Additional Hardware may be Required
- Windows 10 or newer
- Mac OS 10.14 or newer
- Additional Software may be Required (Details can be found in the Course Syllabus)
- High speed Broadband Internet Connection is Required
- Recommended Internet speeds:
- Download speed of at least 25 mbps
- Upload speed of at least 3 mbps
- Ping response of less than 100ms
- Test your Internet speed using speedtest.net, for an accurate speed test representative of your connection to GVSU, please change server to: “Grand Rapids, MI – Merit Networks, Inc”.
- Recommended Internet speeds:
Please consider the following while participating in online/hybrid courses:
- Using a shared Internet connection will impact connectivity, such as additional household members use of streaming TV, gaming, and other Internet usage.
- Wireless connections may be impacted by the distance from the router and interference from microwaves and other electronics. (Wired connections are recommended.)
- Your Internet Service Provider’s performance may vary throughout the day based on community usage.
At GVSU, all students are provided with a Google Gmail account, and all email from the university is sent to this address. This includes any email sent from Blackboard. Your professor or classmates may email you from your course site, and those emails will go to your GVSU Gmail account. You cannot customize Blackboard for email to go to another email address, however, you can forward your GVSU Gmail to another email account if desired. You will use the same username and password for Gmail as you use for Blackboard. If you do not know or remember your password, you can reset it from a link on the Gmail log-in page.
In addition to email, you may find it useful to take advantage of Google Docs, especially for collaborative work with your classmates. You'll find access to these once you login to Gmail, and Google offers tutorials for how to use their products.
Most online or hybrid online courses will use Blackboard, GVSU's learning management system. Think of it as your online classroom.
If you are unfamiliar with Blackboard, there is a self-paced tutorial that will help you to learn how to navigate and to sample many of its features. To access the online tutorial, go to Blackboard, and look for the link that reads "Blackboard Tutorial for Students". You will be able to access many of the common areas without logging in. However, the some features are only available by self-enrolling into the course. The "+ Enroll" button is located on the lower left of the tutorial site.
GVSU is here to support you as an online learner. Resources are available such as:
- Student Help for Blackboard, using Respondus LockDown Browser for online proctoring, accessing alternative file formats with Blackboard Ally, and support for Blackboard Collaborate which is used for virtual offices hours and live online class meetings.
- Blackboard mobile apps, provide convenience and access to your courses and learning while on-the-go.
- The GVSU IT Service Desk offers technical support and assistance.
GVSU is here to support you as an online learner
- GVSU Student Help for Blackboard - How to use Blackboard
- GVSU IT Service Desk - Technical Support
- GVSU Software and Hardware - Free and for Purchase
- GVSU Libraries' Digital Skills Consulting service is available online or in person to help with a variety of software, programs, and technology.
- GCF Global - Technology Tutorials
Special Circumstance & Financial Hardship Request
GVSU remains committed to supporting you because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and is here to help you in times of financial need, including technology requirements. Place visit the GVSU Special Circumstance & Financial Hardship Requests web page for more information.
For assistance with internet access, please visit the Affordable Connectivity Program web page.