Technology recommendations help students evaluate their readiness for online and virtual learning and make informed decisions about computer and internet connectivity needs.
These recommendations are based on the minimum requirements of technology tools students use most often at MACC. Some programs, like computer science, may have additional program-specific recommendations that exceed those listed below. Course-specific technology recommendations will be provided by the instructor where needed. Recommendations are also subject to change as technology changes.
Students should be proficient in or willing to learn the following technology skills.
- Navigate MACC’s website to find information and identify specific webpages (URL links).
- Log into and manage login credentials for myMACC, Canvas, MACC Student email (Outlook) and other websites as needed.
- Adjust settings (notification preferences, profile picture, connected services, etc.) and identify features (help menu, dashboard, calendar, etc.) to effectively navigate and manage a MACC Canvas account.
- Navigate within a Canvas course and other course-specific “external” tools to find resources, engage in activities, and submit assignments online.
- Choose between and use different communication tools (email, discussion forums, chats, etc.) to effectively communicate with MACC faculty, staff, and fellow students both inside and outside of Canvas.
- Read and follow directions provided to set up and use course-specific technology such as LockDown Browser and eBooks/eResources.
- Use word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and other software programs to complete and submit assignments.
- Upload/download files and complete basic file management tasks (creating, locating, renaming, opening and saving in different file formats).
- Carry out basic technology troubleshooting tasks such as install/uninstall/reinstall software, clear browser history, check/update software, adjust browser settings, and reset passwords.
- Be able and willing to adapt when encountering technology problems. This includes having a backup plan when you encounter computer or internet connectivity issues with your personal devices.
MACC’s Instructional Technology department also provides live Canvas Student Orientations and one-on-one assistance in person or virtually via Zoom.
Students should have regular reliable access to a desktop or laptop computer that meets or exceeds the technology recommendations below. Some programs like computer science and information technology may have minimum computer requirements that exceed what is listed here.
A computer five years old or newer with a Windows or macOS operating system is recommended for the best overall experience. These operating systems are fully supported by Canvas and other software programs students regularly encounter.
- Window 11 or 10 – Home, Pro, or Enterprise (S Mode is not supported)
- macOSX 10.6 or higher (Ventura is not supported)
Chromebooks (Chrome OS; web-based operating system)
Chromebooks use a web-based operating system called Chrome OS. The most current version of this operating system is generally supported in most instances where web-based applications are used.
Chromebooks are not recommended as a student’s only computer for online and virtual learning. This is because some software programs students may need are not fully supported or optimized for use on a web-based computer operating system. Programs like Microsoft Office Suite (desktop versions of Word, Excel, etc.) must be downloaded and installed on a computer to access and use all the tools/features in the program and to use it while offline. Also, the web-based (Chromebook) version of Respondus LockDown Browser (required for online proctored exams) has limited support and more intermittent and known issues compared to the version installed on a traditional laptop or desktop computer. It may also work differently on a managed device compared to personal device.
Other System Specifications
- Screen Size: minimum 800 X 600 recommended. Some course materials are best viewed on a standard laptop, desktop, or tablet screen.
- Processor: Single core 1GH z or higher (minimum); Dual core 2GHz or higher (optimal)
- Working Memory: 2 GB free RAM or higher (minimum 4GB RAM required when using LockDown Browser with Monitor or Zoom)
- Storage Space: minimum 200MB free hard disk space (higher for Office 365 Suite download)
Attached or Integrated Hardware
- Speakers and Microphone – built-in or USB plug-in
- A webcam or HD webcam – built-in or USB plug-in
Important Note: In specific instances, a noise cancellation headset or a second device (like a smartphone) may work fine to provide audio and video connectivity. However, they are not an option for virtual or remote testing which requires a built-in camera (or webcam) with a built-in microphone on the device used to take the test.
It’s important to have strong, reliable internet connection equal to or greater than:
- A broadband wired or wireless 3GB or 4GB/LTE connection (minimum)
- 3.0 to 4.0 Mbps or higher bandwidth
Supported Browser & Settings
The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are recommended and supported. Other common browser such as Safari and Edge may work in most cases, but tend to have more intermittent issues or may not display some content as expected.
- Allow Pop-ups
- Enable Cookies
Browser Plugins and Extensions
Some browser plugins and extensions may conflict with software and affect functionality. If you experience issues that prevent you from viewing or participating in an online activity, you may have to disable any extensions or plugins that interact directly with your browser.
Managed devices and internet network connections are administratively managed by a school or other business. This means the user may not be able to install or upgrade programs on the device or access certain content over the network without contacting the IT department for the institution that manages the devices and/or networks. Managed
Chromebooks issued to students by area high schools may not work the same for MACC college courses as they do for high school classes. Therefore, students need to be prepared to use a desktop or laptop computer and/or an alternative internet connection when needed to access MACC course content (like YouTube videos) and complete course activities, assignments, exams, etc.
Please do not rely ONLY on mobile devices (tablets, iPads, and smartphones). Mobile Apps are designed for specific tasks and may not always work as expected. Mobile browsers may not show all the same content or work the same as their laptop/desktop browser counterparts.
Students should always use a desktop or laptop computer to access and set up eBook and eResource accounts at the beginning of the semester.
Mobile devices are most effective for specific tasks, for example:
- The Microsoft Outlook App can be used to quickly access and check MACC Student Email
- The Canvas Student App can be used to check grades, view announcements, and keep up with online discussions.
- The VitalSource Book App can be used to access and read eBooks offline only after the account has been created on a laptop or desktop computer.
- The Zoom App can be used for informal visits, such as popping into ab instructor’s virtual office hours to ask a question, but it is not recommended for virtual classes or other meetings.
Understanding device limitations is also important. For example:
- Mobile devices cannot be used to take remote proctored exams, except that iPads can be used when enabled by the instructor on a specific exam.
- Some options may not be visible on a mobile app or in the mobile browser.
- Some course materials and activities are best viewed on a standard computer screen such as screen-shared content in a virtual (Zoom) classroom.
- Some activities require the use of tools that are only available on the laptop or desktop version of the program. For example, advanced editing tools in Microsoft Word are only available in the desktop version of Word, and Canvas Studio screen recording and editing tools are optimized for use on a laptop/desktop computer.
- Some programs may work in the mobile app or mobile browser, but work better and more consistently on a desktop or laptop computer (e.g. using Canvas Studio to record videos)