Student in the Computer Lab

Technical Requirements

What are the technical requirements that are needed to take an online class?

Operating System

Windows7; Mac OSX


2 GHz processor, equivalent or higher


2 GB of RAM

Hard Drive Space

8 GB free disk space


Cable or DSL high speed internet connection - Required


Graphics-capable (inkjet or laser) printer


Any standard CD-ROM

Other Peripherals

Computer headset with earphones and microphone - For example

Internet Browser

Please refer to the Supported Browsers and Operating Systems document

Browser Settings

Please refer to the Supported Browsers and Operating Systems document

Plug-ins & Downloads

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader -View and print millions of documents on the Web with the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader. You WILL need to have Acrobat Reader on your computer.

  • Apple Quick Time -Quick Time lets you add more than 200 digital media capabilities and components to your Mac, iPod or PC.

  • Audacity - Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds to accompany PowerPoint presentations. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

  • Microsoft Media Player - Windows Media Player supports Windows Media (WMA,ASF), MP3, WAV, MIDI, AVI, and other formats.

  • Flip4Mac allows you to play, import, convert and export Windows Media video and audio files on your Mac.

  • Shockwave and Flash - Macromedia's Shockwave and Flash Player plug-ins let you experience automation and entertainment in your Web browser.

  • Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint Viewers - Google Docs lets users open Excel, PowerPoint and Word files in an Office Compatibility Mode (OCM), then save the results as Sheets, Slides or Docs files, respectively, and Office files can be converted to Google's formats from Google Drive.

  • Microsoft Silverlight - a free web-browser plug-in that enables interactive media experiences, rich business applications and immersive mobile apps.

  • Java - allows you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D, just to name a few.

Technical Help for MAC's

Mediasite content:

Mediasite content requires the installation of a freely available helper program called "Silverlight". 

Here are the steps to play a Mediasite presentation on your Mac:

  1. Visit the Mediasite address linked from a Bb class.
  2. See an error message that Silverlight is required to view the video
    of the speaker.
  3. Click the message; Silverlight will be downloaded to your computer.
  4. Install the Silverlight helper application
  5. Restart your web browser.
  6. Visit the same Mediasite address, you should now be able to watch the video.

Word documents:

Since 2003, all new Macs have included a program called TextEdit that allows viewing and editing of Word documents. Similar to the Windows WordPad program, it is somewhat limited to managing simple documents. However, with complicated tables (as are not uncommon in many nursing assignments), these free programs simply do not match the abilities of Word. On the Mac, as on the PC, our recommendation is to use a recent edition of Microsoft Office. I am unaware of students having difficulty with provided documents (either reading or submitting them) who were using Office.

There are several options for document editing:

  • Office 365 is available to matriculated students with a URMC email address. Register and download Office 365.

  • OpenOffice (from is a free Office suite.
    It is generally capable of editing Office documents but not quite
    something that I would recommend to my parents (it, historically, has
    not been as easy to use or stable as Office). It is frustrating in our
    setting because it prefers to use its own file format that is not able
    to be read by Microsoft Office (it can be forced to convert to Office

  • Web-based Office suites, such as Zoho ( or
    Google Documents ( offer free document tools
    that tend to do a pretty decent job with difficult files. They are
    web-based but starting to be available to work without network access.

  • Apple iWork (Mac-only): offers tools that are similar to Word
    ("Pages"), PowerPoint ("Keynote"), and Excel ("Numbers"). It costs $40
    for students from the computer store.  Like OpenOffice, it prefers to use
    its own file formats, but can export to Microsoft formats.