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Tech Requirements

All the items listed below are required if you take fully online courses, and are recommended if you use Blackboard for any part of your other courses.

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 courses fully online!

Laptop or Desktop Computer

Either a Mac or PC will work, but some specific courses may require one or the other. Your personal computer does not have to be new, but it must be reliable. This includes having EASY ACCESS -- preferably your own personal computer. For online courses, it must be very convenient for you to get to this computer, since you will have to be online and in the course at least 3 - 4 times per week.

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. Please understand also that 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.

High-Speed Internet

Using a cell phone or tablet only is NOT recommended for online courses.

Almost any kind of high-speed Internet will work, as long as it is reliable.

Wireless cards from a cell-phone provider [like Cricket or Verizon] or Satellite Internet [like Hughes or Windstream] do not always have the speed or reliability needed for online courses. 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.

Compatible Internet Browser

Windows systems: Internet Explorer (9 or 10), Chrome, or Firefox. Mac systems: Safari (version depends on OSX) or Chrome. Please go to the Browser Checker for more information.

If you need assistance fixing problems with your browser please contact the Student Technology Help Desk.

Software and Websites

Some courses require you to purchase special software or access to special websites just for that course, so check with the instructor or the NWACC Bookstore to see if this is true for your courses.

Microsoft Office is the standard software used by NWACC -- this includes Word, Excel, etc. If you do not have this already the IT department provides copies to current students.

Please contact Distance Learning with any other questions.