All the items listed below are required if you take fully online classes, and
are recommended if you use Blackboard for any part of your other classes.
1. A Computer
It is the student's responsibility to have reliable technology, including a 'backup plan' if your technology fails. It is a good idea to identify a campus computer lab, local library, friends house, etc. ahead of time in case you need to use a different computer or Internet connection. This is especially critical if you are taking your classes fully online!
Either a Mac or PC will work. It does not have to be new, but it must be reliable. This includes having EASY ACCESS -- preferably your own personal computer. For online classes, it must be very convenient for you to get to this computer, since you will have to be online and in the class at least 3 - 4 times per week.
NOTE: Attempting to regularly use your cellphone to do work in Blackboard is not recommended because many of the functions will not work with your phone. The Blackboard Mobile app does not contain all of the functions of the browser version. Using a tablet as your only computer is also not recommended. Some of Blackboard's functions may not be accessible with tablet browsers, preventing you from participating fully.
2. High-Speed Internet
Almost any kind of high-speed Internet will work, as long as it is reliable. - NOTE: A Dial-up connection [56k modem] will run very very slowly, and is not recommended.
Wireless cards from a cell-phone provider [like Cricket or Verizon] or Satellite Internet [like Hughes] do not always have the speed or reliability needed for online classes. It is possible to access Blackboard with these types of Internet services, but you may experience connection problems when uploading or downloading large files, loss of service during storms, etc. -- so you should have an alternate way to connect to the Internet if this occurs.
3. A Compatible Internet Browser
Windows systems: Internet Explorer (8 or 9), Chrome, or Firefox (10 ESR or Current). Mac systems: Safari (version depends on OSX) or Chrome. On Mac OSX Firefox prevents PDF's from loading correctly!. Please go to the Browser Checker and Browser Settings Guide for more information.
If you need assistance fixing problems with your browser please contact the Student Technology Help Desk.
Some classes require you to purchase special software just for that class, so check with the instructor or the NWACC Bookstore to see if this is true for your classes.
It is not required for all classes, but you should know that Microsoft Office is the standard software used by NWACC -- this includes Word, Excel, etc. If you do not have this already and might need to purchase it, please contact Distance Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org -- sometimes we know about good deals on this software for students.