Suggested Computer Requirements for Online College

If you've recently enrolled in online courses, but you find your computer has been around for quite a while, you should consider figuring out what kind of hardware you have. As your coursework will be conducted fully online, you want to make sure that your computer hardware and software is up to date and fully functioning before you being your college program.

Memory Requirements: The first thing to check is your computer's memory. While most new computers have a decent amount of memory installed, be sure that you have at least 128 megabytes. The amount of RAM you have is very important because it supports important programs needed for online coursework.

Ideally, you should have about 512 megabytes installed. The more memory you have, the smoother your computer will operate, and the more important information can be stored. In addition, programs that you run will run much more stable, and your system will be less likely to shut down unexpectedly. If you are confused about these technical requirements, consult a technical support representative to assist you. Many online colleges are adding this 

Processor Requirements: The computer processor is also very important, as it determines the speed at which your computer runs. Today's computers can have up to a Pentium 4 processor. The minimal requirements would be a Pentium 1 (or similar brand), but at least a Pentium 2 is optimal

Sound and Video Requirements: You'll also want to check for sound and video on your computer. You'll find that as an online college student, you'll participate in webinars frequently. Both of these pieces of hardware allow the computer to produce and process sounds and videos much smoother and clearer. Look into how many bits the video and sound card are running on. Fortunately sound and video cards are fairly inexpensive, and if you're going to be doing anything involving multimedia, it may be worth it to upgrade.

Miscellaneous Requirements: Aside from the internal aspects of your computer, you'll want to have a good, operational keyboard and mouse, and a monitor that is clear. Because you will be on your computer many hours of the day as an online student, you may even want to look for wrist supports for your keyboard to avoid painful symptoms and the early onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Additionally, try to find a chair that supports your back and neck, especially if you're going to be sitting in front of your computer for long periods of time.

Before you start your online classes, do a thorough check of your computer to be sure everything is up to date and working properly, and you'll be ready for online learning in no time.

SOURCE: http://distancelearn.about.com/od/technology/a/hardware.htm

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