Computer Requirements

Online/distance students need to use a computer for completing assignments, downloading course materials, participating in online presentations, and other tasks related to your course. Due to the rapid rate of change in technology we expect hardware and software to be updated on a regular basis.

Hardware recommendations and peripheral specifications

  • 2.0 GHz Intel or AMD processor
  • 2 GB RAM or higher
  • 40 GB hard drive or larger
  • Minimum speed of 256 Kbps upload, 512 Kbps download–DSL/cable broadband
  • Full duplex sound card and speakers
  • Color video display card (set to display 1024×768)
  • Computer microphone and headphones
  • Web camera capable of video web conferencing (optional)
  • Internet speed: use online test sites such as Speedtest

Software recommendations and application specifications

  • Operating System: Windows XP or Windows 7 or later; OS 10.6 or later
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (for PC) or later, Office 2008 (for MAC) or later; Microsoft Office Professional 2010 (for PC) and 2011 (for MAC)
  • One of the following internet browsers
    • Internet Explorer 8.0 or later
    • Firefox 3.6 or later
    • Google Chrome 7.0 or later
    • Safari 5.0 or later
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or later
  • Anti-virus program is recommended (updated regularly)

Streaming media access requirements

  • QuickTime 7
  • Adobe Flash Plug-in 10.0 or later
  • Java 1.6.0 or later
  • System configured to allow installation of browser plug-ins as required
  • Local administrative privileges (for any required software installations)

Commonly used software

Use newest version; check with instructor for additional course requirements:

  • JAVA,
  • Abode Acrobat Reader,
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Image editing software (Photoshop, Illustrator - may be course specific)
  • iTunesU, (connect to ISU)
  • One or more of the following free players/add-ins:
  • Adobe Flash Player:
  • VLC Media Player:
  • Quicktime:
  • Windows Media Player:

Blackboard Learn computer compatibility checkers

It’s critical to work through the following tests:

  1. Run Browser Test available at:

  2. Run the Java Test:

Username/password not working?

  • Your username (ISU NetID) and Password for Blackboard Learn are the same as those for your ISU email account.
  • For help with Username and Password, visit Passwords and Accounts or contact the Solution Center at 515-294-4000 or
  • If your username begins with a “w.” contact your course instructor.

If you are unable to access course content or activities (e.g. tests, discussions, assignments, etc.), contact your instructor.

Other resources:

Adobe Connect (live webinar classes)

  • Before any session, or if you change computers, run the system connection test.
  • Headset microphones are recommended for any session using live, two-way audio.
  • Cameras are usually not required.
  • It is also recommended that you connect from a wired internet connection when attempting to participate in a live webinar.
  • Tools