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Technical Requirements for Distance Courses

All courses in the Clinical Vision Research program are provided via the public Internet World Wide Web. Courses use the Blackboard web-based instructional platform as implemented at NSU. Specific hardware and software requirements necessarily change as new versions of Blackboard and other associated software become available and are implemented by the university, but the following is offered as a general guide to minimum requirements for prospective students.

Important Note: NSU is a Microsoft-dominated institution to the extent that all faculty members are provided computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office Professional application software. Although our Clinical Vision Research program does not explicitly require any specific proprietary operating system or office application software, students who choose to use those other than Microsoft's should be aware that little technical support will be available to them from NSU's Help Desk.

Also, many NSU instructors may require that assignments be submitted to them in Microsoft Word (.doc), Excel (.xls), or Powerpoint (.ppt) formats. Many current word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications will allow the user to import and export files in these formats with minor differences in layout occurring depending upon the specific fonts and features used in the document.

Every student must independently establish and maintain Internet access from a local Internet Service Provider throughout the CVR program. A high-speed connection (DSL or cable) is highly recommended if available in your area. If high-speed Internet access is not available to you locally, a dialup connection that is consistently faster than 38 kbaud is acceptable.

Any computer capable of running a web browser compatible with NSU's current version of Blackboard with the additional software listed below should be adequate. The best way to determine if your computer is adequate is to install one of the web browsers listed along with all of the essential software listed below and see how it all works. Generally, your computer's central processor should be comparable to, or better than an Intel Pentium III running at 500 MHz. For Apple computers, a G3 or newer PowerPC processor is recommended.

  • Modem (DSL, cable, 56 Kbaud V.90 telephone or better)
  • Video resolution 800 x 600, 65k color depth or better
  • RAM 256 Mb minimum, 512 Mb or more recommended
  • Sound card (comparable to or better than a 32-bit SoundBlaster card)
  • Microphone (either with boom or headset earphones)
  • Speakers (and/or earphones)
  • Data backup system (zip disk or external HDD, CD R/RW, DVD R/RW)
  1. Operating System (general recommendations)
    Microsoft Windows: 98 2 nd edition or newer (2000 or XP recommended)
    Apple OS 9.0 or newer (OS-X 'Äì 10,2 or newer recommended)
    POSIX-compliant OS (UNIX, Solaris, Linux, etc.): any able to run software below.
  2. Any web browser supported by Blackboard
  3. Java Runtime Environment
    Version 1.4.2 or newer, including Java Web Start
  4. Elluminate LIVE!
  5. Acrobat Reader
  6. RealPlayer
  7. Quicktime Player
  8. Any current, updated, anti-virus application
  9. Any office productivity suite including word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation applications capable of importing and exporting files in Microsoft doc, xls, and ppt formats. (Microsoft Office recommended)

*Please Note: This list of software requirements is subject to change.

Every student should be able to set up and maintain his or her own personal computer, peripheral devices, and software. This includes routine, periodic installation of operating system and anti-virus software updates, the setup and maintenance of an Internet connection through a local Internet Service Provider, and the installation and maintenance of application software. One should know enough computer-related terminology to obtain and follow directions provided by technical support personnel. Every student should be sufficiently familiar with the computer being used to:

  1. locate, move, copy, and rename files on that computer.
  2. send, receive, and manage electronic mail with and without attached data files.
  3. navigate the World Wide Web using a web browser.
  4. upload and download data files to and from other computers on the World Wide Web.
  5. read and post messages on a web-based 'bulletin board'.
  6. create, import, edit, save, and export to available formats documents in a word processing application (like Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet application (like Microsoft Excel), and a presentation application (like Microsoft Powerpoint).

NSU Help Desk
Phone: 800-541-6682, ext. 24357

NSU Technology Policies:

College of Optometry, Director of Technology:
Greg Fecho, O.D.
Phone: 954-262-1428

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