Minimum Technical Requirements

Minimum Technical Requirements

Students taking distance education courses can go to the Alberta or Keysville campus or to one of our extension center locations to use the computer labs.   You will need to contact the center or campus nearest you for lab times.  Locations and Phone Numbers

Students planning to use their own personal computers need to make sure the following requirements are met:  (If you encounter problems with your personal computer, you will need to find an alternate means to complete your online work.)

Basic Skills Requirements

 Students taking an Internet class should have the following skills and be able to do the following.

  • Basic word processing (saving files, opening files)
  • Locate a file on a hard drive or flash drive
  • Send and receive e-mail (including attachments)
  • Download and install necessary utilities, updates, and plug-ins
  • Complete a basic search on the internet using a search engine (example:  Google)
  • Run virus scans on your computer
    Basic Skills Requirements
Hardware Requirements
  • 1.6 GHz CPU or greater with minimum of 1GB RAM (2 GB is recommended)

  • Sound card and speakers or a headset

  • High Speed Internet (Although you can use a dial-up internet connection, it is not recommended, and should not be your only option for internet access for your course work.  It can be problematic with certain functionalities, especially testing in Blackboard, downloading files, and watching videos.)
Operating Systems and Plug-ins

This website linked below will tell you what operating system you are using, what browser you are on, and will give you a lot of information about your computer and browser settings.  Some of this information will be useful as you check your computer to make sure that you have everything you need for it to run as smoothly as possible while you are completing your course.  Refer back to this site as you review the information on this page.      What is My Browser Computer Check

  • Windows Vista, 7, 8
  • MAC OSX 10.6 or later
  • JAVA Runtime Environment 7
    • JRE is only required in order to use certain Blackboard features.
      • Learn collaboration tools virtual classroom and chat
      • Multiple-file uploads
      • Math equation editor
    • Sun JRE 7
    • JRE 6 may work for some, but not all Blackboard Learn features.
  • Adobe Flash Player 11
    • Flash Player is only required in order to view some web-based media.
  • Adobe Reader:  This is free software that will allow you to view PDF files.  This is a file type that is commonly used in the online environment.   Adobe Reader Download
  • Office 2013:  As a student at SVCC, you have a license for Office 365 for free.  Through Office 365, you can download the latest version of Microsoft Office free of charge.   Office 365 Information and Sign-In
  • Microsoft Silverlight:  This program is also free and is required for viewing videos in the format that many of our instructors utilize.     Silverlight Download
Internet Browser
Mozilla Firefox Firefox Download for PC Firefox Download for Mac
Google Chrome Chrome Download for PC Chrome Download for Mac
Safari Safari Download for PC Safari Download for Mac
Internet Explorer Not Recommended

Additional Note:  Generally it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your computer.  If you are experiencing a problem with Blackboard, it could be a problem with how your browser or a browser plug-in is responding to the system.  If you have more than one browser on your computer, you can easily and quickly switch browsers to see if this alleviates the problem.  

Verifying Java Java Verification Instructions - PC Java Verification Instructions - Mac
Installing Java Java Installation Instructions - PC Java Installation Instructions - Mac
Uninstalling Java Java Uninstalling Instructions - PC N/A
Updating Java Java Updating Instructions - PC Java Updating Instructions - Mac

Updating Java on Mac

Apple supplies their own version of Java for all operating systems prior to OS X 10.7 Lion. For Macintosh operating systems prior to Lion, use the Software Update feature (available through the Apple menu) to check for Java updates. If you have problems with Java on your Macintosh system, please contact Apple Technical Support for further assistance.

Clearing the Java Cache

Your Java cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access. Sometimes cached data can become corrupt or outdated. In such cases we recommend that you delete cached content so that the storage is complete and current.   Please do this periodically throughout the semester, and try this if you find you are experiencing a problem with Blackboard.

More information on how to clear the Java cache on a Windows OS
More information on how to clear the Java cache on a Mac OS

Browser Settings
  • Javascript must be enabled.
  • Session cookies must be enabled.
  • Pop-up windows must be enabled.

These settings must be enabled for Blackboard.  (

Use the Browser Tune-up link below to check whether you have the required players and plug-ins installed and download the latest versions.

Browser Tune-up

Pearson Browser Check

Pop-ups Are Allowed

Allowing Pop-Up Blockers

JavaScript Must Be Enabled

Enabling Java and JavaScript

Cookies Must Be Allowed/Enabled
Cookie errors most often occur because a required cookie is blocked by the web browser. Please make sure that cookies from the websites used in your course are allowed by your browser. For instructions, click the link for your browser in the list below.

Blackboard Collaborate Online Meeting Room Setup Test

Some of our instructors at Southside do you an online tool called Blackboard Collaborate to meet with students virtually.  Blackboard provides a meeting room that you can use to test your connection, settings, and set-up your audio. 
V12.6 Configuration Room (CA-SAS)
V12.6 Configuration Room (US-SAS)
V12.6 Configuration Room (EU-SAS)
V12.6 Configuration Room (AU-SAS)

Blackboard Mobile

Go Mobile - Mobile and Tablet Resources

Blackboard is not a mobile friendly, but it does have a mobile app that can make certain functions more user friendly.  An online course can not be completed in its entirety on a mobile device, but there are certainly some tasks that can be completed from your tablet, iphone, ipad, or android device.

Accessing Course Content and Apps from Your Phone or Tablet