Technology Requirements for Online Classes
Basic Technology Requirements
If you register for online, hybrid online, or virtual courses at SUSCC, you MUST have access to the necessary technology for accessing Canvas course materials and completing activities. You are responsible for accessing a compatible computer and Internet connection for completing coursework.
Since Southern Union uses a Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas to deliver online courses, it is essential that your computer meet the basic specifications needed to access and use Canvas. Note: Chromebooks and computers running in Windows S mode are not compatible with the testing software used in online courses.
Note: In addition to these technology requirements, online students must also possess certain Technical Skills to be successful in an online class.
Before registering for an online, hybrid online, or virtual course, be sure you have the following hardware and Internet connection:
- Computer less than five (5) years old running a compatible operating system;
- Working microphone and webcam (can be plugged in or built in to the computer);
- Speakers or headphones;
- High-speed Internet connection (This is extremely important. You won't want an intermittent or slow internet connection while taking a timed test.)
Technology requirements for individual courses may vary, and your course may require additional hardware and/or software. See the course syllabus or contact the instructor for additional technology requirements.
Canvas requires an operating system that can run the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Your computer operating system should be updated regularly with the latest recommended security updates and upgrades. It is recommended to use a computer no older than five years with at least 1GB of RAM.
For best performance, Canvas should be used with the latest release of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Your browser should notify you if there is a new version available.
*If you experience problems with a particular browser or Canvas behaves in an unusual way, try a different browser. Find out more details about browsers and try the browser checker tool found in the Canvas Guide: What are the Browser and Computer Requirements for Canvas?
Instructure Canvas supports the current and previous major releases of the following browsers:
- Respondus Lockdown Browser (supporting the latest system requirements)
- Safari 15 and 16 (Macintosh only)
You can verify that the browser you currently use is up to date by using the browser checker tool located in the Canvas Guide: What are the browser and computer requirements for Instructure products? Also, refer to the Canvas Guide for more information on computers, mobile devices, browsers, and troubleshooting problems.
The Canvas interface was optimized for desktop displays, so smaller screens, such as phones or tablets, may not display correctly. For the best user experience on a mobile device, please download the Canvas mobile application. These mobile applications require the latest Android or iOS versions.
Canvas support offers limited help for mobile browsers. For additional details, please reference the limited-support mobile browser guidelines.
Third-party applications integrated with Canvas may be required in your course. These might not work on a mobile device (phone or tablet). Also, some instructors won't allow them to take tests.
Note: It is best to use a computer, rather than a mobile device, for most of your activity in a distance education course. Proctored tests may not be completed on a mobile phone and some tablets.
Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low-bandwidth environments. It is recommended to have a minimum Internet speed of 512kbps.
However, technologies used in individual courses vary. See the course syllabus or contact your instructor for additional technology requirements. A strong internet connection is vital when using test proctoring software to avoid disconnections.
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."
Note: WiFi connections are available for use in most areas on our campuses. You may connect to the student WiFi without a password.
How can I determine my current Internet speed?
In the event of an emergency, Southern Union has a limited number of laptops for loan through the Learning Resource Center (LRC). You must be a registered student to borrow a laptop for the current semester. Complete the Technology Request Form, and your request will be considered on an individual basis.
Adobe Acrobat Reader software is the free global standard for viewing and printing PDF documents. It is the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all types of PDF content. Get the Free Reader Download.
Zoom is a conferencing tool used to hold virtual class meetings and can also be used for tutoring or help in any course. You will access an individual Zoom meeting through a link provided by your instructor in an email, or for class meetings, your instructor will probably instruct you to use the Zoom link in the left navigation of your Canvas course. A student must enable or install a browser extension before accessing Zoom on their computer for the first time.
Respondus LockDown Browser™ is a secured browser used solely for taking online exams and quizzes in Canvas. If your instructor has chosen to require the Lockdown browser for a quiz or exam, you will need to install it once for free on the computer you will use. Once installed, you simply open the browser (instead of Chrome or your usual browser), log in to Canvas, and take your quiz. Read more about Respondus Lockdown Browser. Please note that some instructors may not allow the use of a mobile device for taking tests.
Respondus Monitor is a video monitoring tool used by some instructors along with the Lockdown Browser. Monitor records each student as they test, and is used to help ensure exam integrity for students taking their tests online outside of a classroom or testing center. A camera and microphone are required to use Respondus Monitor. Each student's video is saved in Canvas, in case the instructor wants to review it later.
ProctorU is a third party live proctoring service that allows exam takers to complete their assessment at home while still ensuring the integrity of the exam for the institution. All online, virtual, and specified hybrid/blended courses at SUSCC use ProctorU for a mid-semester and final exam. A charge of $35 per course is assessed with tuition for each online course to cover the cost of online proctoring. Visit the ProctorU student website for more information.
Important Note: If you are not comfortable with a remote proctor watching you take two designated tests in every online, virtual, and possibly hybrid courses, do not sign up for those classes.
In order to use ProctorU, you will need to have
- a high-speed internet connection
- a webcam and speakers (internal or external)
- an updated Windows or Mac Operating System
- Guardian Browser or Chrome/Firefox Extension (Check your course instructions for which of these you'll need.)
- private testing location (Please don't plan to test on a school computer, as there are no private testing areas.)
- hand mirror (for showing the front of the computer to the proctor)
- an unexpired, government-issued photo ID (2 are strongly recommended).
ProctorU recommends that you visit proctoru.com/testitout prior to your proctoring session to test your equipment. For any technical problems you might have with your computer, you can click on the Chat button at the bottom left corner of the ProctorU screen. Type "transfer" in the chat box to get to a live person. You can also call ProctorU Support at 855-772-8678.
At this time, ProctorU testing does not support the following for Live+ proctoring; however, they are working on solutions to accommodate every platform.
- Google Chromebooks
- Android tablets (Nexus 7, etc.)
- iOS tablets (iPad, iPad mini, etc.)
- Linux operating systems
- Microsoft Windows 10 in S mode
- Microsoft Surface RT
Note: ProctorU will not proctor computers running within virtual machines. If you are running within a virtual machine when you connect with us, you will be asked to exit your virtual machine and reconnect using your host operating system to take your test.