What computer equipment do you need to take online classes?

Laptop

Paper, pencils, and don’t forget those all-important highlighters! The supplies and equipment you need for online classes are not much different from traditional on-campus requirements, with a few exceptions.

The first thing that the best online universities will tell you is that you need a space to study. This can be a desk at home, or a corner of the nearest coffee shop. You need to find a place where you can stay focused, have relative quiet time and little distraction. You also need proper lighting to reduce eyestrain. If you do like to work at a coffee shop or library, you will need a good organized bag with your supplies, laptop and books.

And of course, if you are taking online classes, you will need a way to get online. You can use library computers if they have the software required by your college. If you decide to purchase a computer, find one that has at least 20 GB hard drive, 512 MB RAM, Windows 98 or better/ Mac OSX 10.4 or higher,  sound card, MS Office 2004 or higher, or some other word processor, web browser with plug-ins. A laptop is a good choice since it is portable. Some classes will require use of a webcam or DVD player as well. Couple that with a wireless internet connection and you’re literally good to go.

A popular trend in distance learning is colleges providing free laptops when you enroll. Many include this option with tuition and fees. There are requirements you must meet to obtain and keep a provided laptop.

As far as computer skills go, you will need to be able to navigate the internet and send email. You should familiarize yourself with how a chat room, Skype or WebEx works. Your admissions counselor will let you know the particular software and programs you will be using.

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