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.

Technology Proficiency

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)
Student Looking at his Laptop

Computer Minimum Requirements


  • PC, Mac, Chromebook or tablet
  • Speakers
  • Microphone 
  • Webcam
  • 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)

Internet Connection 

  • 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, for an accurate speed test representative of your connection to GVSU, please change server to: “Grand Rapids, MI – Merit Networks, Inc”.
  • 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.
  • All students are enrolled in our Blackboard Learn Ultra Online/Hybrid Orientation course, which can be found in Blackboard under the “Professional Development” term on the “Courses” page.
  • This orientation provides a basic overview of the new functionality of Ultra as well as suggested tips and best practices for being an online student. 
  • It takes roughly twenty-five minutes to complete, and students can receive a certificate of completion. 

GVSU is here to support you as an online learner

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

Page last modified May 3, 2023