Technology Requirements for Online Courses

If you are thinking about enrolling in an online course, you might be wondering if your computer will perform well enough to take an online course.  It is important to research the technology requirements for any online program that you are looking into and make sure that your computer meets at least the minimum requirements needed. 
If you are thinking about buying a new computer to take online classes, pretty much any computer you buy these days that is running a Windows XP SP2 or higher operating system is going to meet the technology requirements necessary to go to school online. The first thing to think about is if you should get a laptop or a desktop computer.  While desktop computers tend to be less expensive, there are some definitely benefits to having a laptop computer.  Laptops are great because if you have to travel at all while taking an online course, you can take your computer with you.  Students with young children benefit from having a laptop because it allows them to be mobile while doing schoolwork if they need to go find a quiet place to study.  If your internet connection goes down at your home, you can go to the public library, your local coffee café, or even a fast food restaurant to use a free internet connection with a laptop computer. 
Also, online students are required to have a microphone and a webcam and most laptops already have both of these features built in.  The benefits of having a laptop computer can definitely outweigh the extra cost of the computer, but you should weigh your options and pick whatever you think will work best for you. Many of the students that are starting online courses at Bryant & Stratton College Online, do not have Microsoft Office on their computers.  Computers do not usually come with Microsoft Office when you buy them.  This usually needs to be purchased separately and installed on your computer. 
You can download a trial version of Microsoft Office, but don’t rely on this to get you through classes, because the trial only lasts for 60 days. Students at Bryant & Stratton College Online must have a copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 to take online classes.  If a student does not have it, they do have the option of purchasing it from our bookstore with their financial aid before classes start. You should also consider your internet connection that you will be using for online classes.  There are several types of internet services that you can purchase for use at your residence.  There are dial-up, broadband, satellite and air card internet connections available as options for obtaining home internet access. 
A broadband internet connection is highly recommended for online students. If your computer is really old or broken and you are planning to fix it or upgrade it, make sure you do this before you enroll in online classes just in case something goes wrong.  You don’t want to start off as a new student and fall behind because you don’t have a way to access your coursework.  Also, it is always a good idea to have a backup plan for what you will do if your computer isn’t working.  Many online students have a family member or friend on standby in case their computer has an issue or their internet connection goes down.
For more specific information about Bryant & Stratton’s technology requirements, visit https://www.bryantstratton.edu/admissions/online/technology-requirements.