Online Course Technology Requirements
and Brightspace Information
To successfully take an online course at SSC, students should meet the following minimum technology requirements for hardware and software. Some classes may require additional technologies.
All online students should have a backup plan should their computer and Internet
Student Computer Literacy
Students taking online courses at SSC need a basic
level of computer and Internet literacy before taking online classes. The
following list is from
Minnesota State University's University Extended Education page:
- Knowledge of terminology, such as browser, IMHO, application,
- Understanding of basic computer hardware and software; ability to
perform computer operations, such as:
- Using keyboard and mouse
- Managing files and folders: save, name, copy, move, backup, rename,
delete, check properties
- Software installation, security and virus protection
- Using software applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, email
- Knowledge of copying and pasting, spell-checking, saving files in
- Sending and downloading attachments
- Internet skills (connecting, accessing, using browsers) and ability to
[use]...various search engines and library databases.
- Ability to use online communication tools, such as email (create, send,
receive, reply, print, send/receive attachments), discussion boards (read,
search, post, reply, follow threads), chats, and messengers.
SSC students should have consistent access to a reliable connection to the Internet. You are responsible for setting up your own connection to the Internet. SSC recommends a DSL or Cable connection in order to handle the rich media content of some courses.
Hardware and Software
Students should run a systems check on their computer to verify compatibility with SSC technology. For PC and Mac systems checks, follow the instructions at https://kb.wisc.edu/helpdesk/page.php?id=8208. A systems check will provide you with the information about your system that will determine compatibility with SSC’s online courses. You should find information about browser version and settings, displace settings, plug-ins, and operating system version, as well as memory and hard drive capacity.
Under the Brightspace Information heading on this page, you will find a system
check that specifically checks browser and settings compatibility for
Though some courses may require specific software as part of course materials, most online courses at SSC will require the following software:
A word processing program such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice. SSC uses Microsoft Office in its computer labs, so it recommends students use compatible programs. OpenOffice is a free software suite compatible with MS Office. The download link is listed at the end of this document.
Anti-virus program: SSC recommends students use an anti-virus program to protect against computer infections. These viruses can attach to emails, documents, pictures, and other types of files students might download or upload. These viruses can damage hardware, and assignments may not get delivered because of spam or virus blockers that send them to junk folders where an instructor may not see them or may not attempt opening them for fear of contamination. Links to free anti-virus software are provided at the end of this document.
Brightspace Information Links
Tutorial Home Page on YouTube
Brightspace Systems Check
to determine computer compatibility for
core plug-ins, web browsers, browser settings, and display settings
For information on all aspects of Brightspace, go to the
D2L Resource Center.
D2L will be archiving this site and replacing it with Brightspace Help after
SSC's IT department for help with technical problems: EMAIL
Microsoft Office 365
SignUp Genius Information Links
ProctorU Information Links
Pearson MyLab Information Links
Helpful Technology Links
This is a list of free technology that can help you as a student. Not all of these are required for online courses. This list contains links to resources that are common and/or recommended by reputable sources.
SSC has not tried nor does it endorse all of them. These are provided as a
OpenOffice - a FREE alternative to Microsoft Office that offers compatible software to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel (as well as other productivity tools)
Anti-Virus Software review from CNET – a list of software and freeware with reviews
PowerPoint Viewer - a free download that lets you view PowerPoint presentations
Word Viewer - to view/print Word documents if you do not have Word
Adobe Reader - to open PDF files (does not allow for creation or editing of PDFs - you need Adobe Acrobat for that and it is not free)
Adobe Flash player - to view Flash movies
Google Products - a page that lists all of Google's tools, including Google Drive (free cloud storage), Google Docs (like Word), Google Slides (like PowerPoint), Google Sheets (like Excel), and a lot more.
Google Chrome - a more stable web browser than the current version of Internet Explorer
Jing - "Jing® is a computer service that lets you capture basic video, animation, and still images, and share them on the web." (I personally use this free software and love it)
YouTube - iPhone and iPad app download; Android app download
Skype - free teleconferencing software (like iPhone's Facetime)
Bubbl.us - online brainstorming site (also called mind mapping and can be used for creating prewrite clusters)
Windows Media Player - audio/video player for PC users
Quicktime Player - audio/video player for Apple and PC users
Java - to download latest Java - newer versions may not always be compatible with Cruiser. Check what version of Java is supported before updating your Java software. You can email IT for this information.
Technology for Those with Accessibility Needs
Students needing accommodations for disabilities must go through SSC's ADA office. Visit SSC's ADA page for information on contacting the office and the services provided.
Microsoft Accessibility - instructions for enabling accessibility features of Microsoft products
Adobe Reader - instructions for using Adobe Reader to read out loud
NVDA - "NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system offering synthetic speech and Braille with multi language support and the ability to run entirely from a USB drive."
System Access to Go - "Online screenreader, free, available from any Internet-connected Windows machine"
"GeorgiePhone is a family of apps for blind or low vision people and people
looking for a simple, no nonsense phone. With its big talking buttons, clear
print, simple layout and choice of colour themes, it is far more than a
screenreader for smartphones."
Web Anywhere - "WebAnywhere is a web-based screen reader for the web. It requires no special software to be installed on the client machine and, therefore, enables blind people to access the web from any computer that has a sound card."
Power Talk - "PowerTalk is a free program that automatically speaks any presentation or slide show running in Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows. Speech is provided by the synthesised computer voices that are provided with Windows 7, Vista and XP, and other voices are available. PowerTalk uses PowerPoint supplied with Microsoft Office to show the presentation.
Word Talk - "A free Windows text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word. It will speak the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains a talking dictionary and a text-to-mp3 converter."
Resources page on Word Prediction Software - provides links to software
(some free); tips for choosing the best software; and tutorials on using it.
an on-screen virtual keyboard designed to provide computer accessibility to
anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical
computer keyboard. As long as the physically challenged person can control
a mouse, trackball, touch screen or other pointing device, this adaptive
software keyboard allows you to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows
application or DOS application that can run within a window.
The Click-N-Type Virtual Keyboard requires Windows
95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista/Win-7 or later.