Technology Requirements for Online Classes

Basic Technology Requirements 

Basic Software/Hardware

If you are taking online/hybrid courses at SUSCC, you MUST have access to certain technology to access course materials.  Students may use computers in the open computer labs in each campus library but access may be limited since computer availability is on a first-come basis during normal library operating hours.  Therefore, it is not recommended that you rely solely on access through the LRC. Additionally, some students plan to use computers at their work site but you should be aware that some classes may require the download of additional software that may not be allowed by your employer.

You will need to have access to the following software/hardware:

  • Computer (Mobile devices are not recommended. Mobile applications are available for Canvas but many features are not available with a mobile device.)
  • Working microphone and webcam (can be combined or included with computer hardware such as in a laptop)
  • Speakers or headphones
  • High-Speed Internet Connection

Technology requirements for individual courses may vary and your course may require more hardware or software.  See the course syllabus or contact the instructor for additional technology requirements.

Basic Computer Specifications

Since Southern Union uses a Learning Management System called Canvas to deliver online courses, it is important that your computer meet the basic specifications needed to access Canvas.  There may be requirements in some courses that may require additional technologies.

About Mobile Devices: While Canvas may be accessed on mobile devices, it is strongly recommended, and in some cases required, that coursework be completed on a desktop or laptop computer. 

Internet Connection Speed

A high speed internet connection with speeds of 1.5 mbps or higher is recommended for online courses to ensure that you can access all of the course materials and resources, particularly large file sizes as with streaming video. However, technologies used in individual courses vary.  See the course syllabus or contact your instructor for additional technology requirements.

  • Why does Internet speed matter?
    • Many online courses use videos. Viewing is only possible if a certain amount of data is transferred to your computer in a timely manner. The speed that the data can be sent to you is called your "Internet speed".  **
  • Approximate speeds of the common types of Internet Service Providers:
    • Dial-up internet* - 56 bps (from phone company)
    • DSL internet - 768 kbps+ (from phone company)
    • Cable internet - 1,000-10,000+ kbps (from cable company)

*Dial-up connections cannot load the data fast enough which causes video to pause to let more data arrive. DSL and Cable connections are more than adequate to watch most online videos.

**Note: Wifi connections are available in most areas on-campus.  You should be aware that during testing, you will be required to be located in a private area.  

Web Browser Requirements for Canvas                                                                                                          decorative image

SUSCC uses a learning managment system (LMS) by Instructure called Canvas.  Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser.  The Canvas interface was optimized for desktop displays, so using mobile devices such as phones and tablets may not work correctly. Canvas is not officially supported on mobile browsers. Click on the link below to find out what browsers are supported by Canvas.  Find out more about Supported Browsers.

Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plug-in.After you successfully log in to Canvas, if you experience problems viewing or accessing links or documents, you should assure that you are using one of the supported web browsers. Try a different browser. Some browsers like Internet Explorer, may not work appropriately with the Canvas LMS. The Chrome browser tends to work best with Canvas.

Other Required Components

  • Flash: Flash is required in many instances in Canvas for media recording/streaming and viewing as well as uploading files to a course or an assignment. Other than these features, Flash is not required to use most areas of Canvas. Install Flash Player to your computer.

  • Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader software is the free global standard for viewing and printing PDF documents. It's the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all types of PDF content. Get the Free Reader Download.

  • Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a secured browser used solely for taking online exams and quizzes for courses at Southern Union. If your instructor has chosen to require the Lockdown browser for their quiz or exam, you will need to install it one time for free on the computer you will use.  Some instructors may also require the use of Respondus Monitor in addition to the Lockdown Browser (see below).  Once installed, you simply open it, log in to Canvas and take your quiz.  Read more about Respondus Lockdown Browser. Please note that Chromebooks do not support the download of Lockdown Browser.

  • Respondus Monitor is a video monitoring tool used by some instructors along with the Lockdown Browser that will allow for proctored, or supervised, exams that students will take online. Respondus Monitor can help ensure exam integrity for students taking their tests online outside of a testing center.  A camera and microphone are required to use Respondus Monitor.

  • ProctorU. Many of the online courses at SUSCC will use an online proctoring service for the final exam in the course. A charge of $25 per course is assessed for each online course to cover the cost of online proctoring.  

    • ProctorU is a live online proctoring service that allows exam takers to complete their assessment at home while still ensuring the integrity of the exam for the institution. In order to use ProctorU you will need to have

      • a high-speed internet connection 
      • a webcam (internal or external)
      • private testing location
      • hand mirror 
      • a Windows or Apple Operating System 
      • and a government issued photo ID  (2 are strongly recommended). 

ProctorU recommends that you visit prior to your proctoring session to test your equipment. For any technical problems you might have with your computer, you can click on the button that says “connect to a live person.”