Technology Prep Checklist
Before you begin your course, make sure you’re prepared for online learning! Online and hybrid courses at Penn Nursing use three main platforms: Canvas for the course site and asynchronous class time, and either Adobe Connect or BlueJeans for synchronous class time. Some courses use remote proctoring software as well. The following recommendations relate to all of these platforms.
1: Evaluate your device.
Students can participate in online and hybrid courses using a PC or MAC desktop or laptop with a screen size no smaller than 1024x600, or the average size of a netbook. In general, computers that are three years old or younger should be fine for online courses. Even though app versions exist of several platforms used in online classes, students should not rely solely on a tablet or smartphone. Your computer should also be equipped with a webcam for synchronous sessions.
2: Update everything!
Update your operating system, your preferred browser(s) and Adobe Flash. To test whether you have the most up-to-date version of your browser, visit www.whatbrowser.org. To test your current version of Adobe Flash, click here.
3: Check your internet connection.
Students need a strong internet connection with a minimum of 1 Mbps download speed. For the best experience, use an ethernet (wired) internet connection. Public WiFi is rarely adequate. Use “Speed Test” websites or apps to determine the strength of your internet connection. Cellular connections (4G LTE, etc.) may not be fast or stable enough for a smooth class experience.
4: Have a preferred and a backup browser.
Chrome and Firefox are the best all-around browsers for the platforms used in Penn online classes. Often switching between browsers can help resolve issues, so it is recommended that students have more than one up-to-date browser on their computer. Safari may also work, but Internet Explorer is not recommended.
5: Be aware of download requirements.
Canvas is web-based and does not require any downloads. Adobe Connect is also web-based for students, though instructors may need to download an admin plugin. BlueJeans is web-based with an optional download for participants and moderators (download required for mobile participants only). Downloads are sometimes an issue if you are using a work or shared computer to access course tools, so you may need to involve your local IT professional in the setup process.
6: Buy a headset for synchronous sessions.
For the best possible classroom experience in Adobe Connect or BlueJeans, use a headset with a microphone. We recommend the Logitech ClearChat USB headset for best results. Smartphone earbuds with microphone will work in a pinch, but a headset with microphone is the best option.
Considering purchasing a new computer or smartphone soon?
Penn Information Systems & Computing publishes a yearly guide for faculty, students and staff who are purchasing devices, to ensure they are compatible with Penn’s computing environment. View the guide for desktop and laptop/notebook computers, or mobile devices.
Adapted from: System Requirements, Penn Arts & Sciences