What equipment do I need for my classes?
While everyone knows that attending school requires certain materials like books, notebooks, pens, paper, and binders, those taking online courses will need a little bit more special equipment than those attending a traditional, campus-based school.
First and foremost, the most essential piece of equipment you will need is a computer with high-speed internet capability. Online students should consider getting a computer with a decent-sized monitor and a fair amount of memory. Most schools still operate with Microsoft Windows-based systems, while others may be moving on to Apple computers, so check with a college representative to see what the college operates with. Aside from the computer itself, you'll probably want to secure a good computer desk, a reliable printer, and maybe even a scanner. Make sure you get a comprehensive list of exactly what you'll need before you start your courses.
Of course, hardware is not the only equipment you will have to have when taking online degree courses. The software you have installed is absolutely imperative. First, you should have a working email address set up, and an email program. (Many online schools offer a specific email platform to enrolled students.) This way, professors can get in touch with you and vice versa. A good word processing program is essential for writing papers and even taking notes.
If your class will be broadcast live via webcam, you'll need to install multimedia software, like Flash, so you will be able to see the class and participate via video. Most of these types of software are available for download free of charge, so there should be minimal cost involved. If you are a graphic design or advertising major, you may also need additional software like Photoshop. Most design software is offered to college students at a reduced rate.
Overall, check with your professor or college advisor to find out what the requirements are for each class. If you do not have a personal computer, many public libraries offer them to community members.