Technology for Online Graduate Courses
If you’re earning your degree online, make sure you’re familiar with some basic technology.
You’ll need a computer as well as basic computer skills. Textbooks, notebooks, and pens aren’t your main tools in the online classroom, though they’ll still be part of it.
Tools for online learning
In online courses, everything from group work to assignments to presentations is done online. You’ll need a trustworthy computer as well as a few other tools so you can communicate with your professor and fellow students, access coursework, participate in projects, and share your work.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A desktop or laptop computer (Find specifications here.)
- A webcam to create videos or participate in online meetings or discussions
- A microphone, headphones, and speakers for online discussions and videos
- Internet connection that is fast and consistent, providing upload speeds of at least 5 Mbps (megabits per second) and download speeds of at least 15 Mbps
- More than one common web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, to ensure compatibility with software and websites you use
Skills to master your online courses
You’ll need basic skills to use the technology in your online courses. Most of them you probably already know. Don’t worry if you don’t. You can check out UNC Greensboro’s Ready to Learn site for guidance.
Here are the skills you’ll need:
- Bookmarking a web page to find later
- Clearing cache, cookies, and browser history to help performance issues
- Playing audio and video media files, such as MP3, MP4, FLV, and WAV
- Downloading files
- Troubleshooting technical issues
Software that organizes your online learning
For your courses, you’ll need to be familiar with software that manages your online experience, helping you turn in your work, store files in the cloud, and collaborate with others.
Here’s what you’ll use in UNCG’s online courses:
- Canvas helps you access your courses and content, take tests, check grades, and have discussions.
- Google Apps includes email, chat, calendaring, word processing, and spreadsheets that work through your web browser.
- Using virtual classrooms and meeting spaces, WebEx allows instructors to poll a class, use and share a whiteboard or computer screen, chat with students, and more.
- Box allows you to sync files across devices and from the web, eliminating the need for thumb drives and emailing files.
With a bit of practice, you’ll be using these tools with ease — and earning your graduate degree in the process.
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