Technical Requirements for Online Courses

If there are technical problems with our systems, please contact the Student Help Desk for assistance.

If there are technical problems with your computer or Internet connectivity, we are unable to assist you.

Instructors are responsible for teaching course curriculum - not how to use your home computer.

It is the student's responsibility to be technologically capable to take an online course, i.e. you should be computer literate and Internet experienced! Check to see if you're ready for online learning.

Since your course will be accessed through your computer and Internet connection, it is important that you have the proper computer configuration. Outlined below are the basic technical requirements (minimum and recommended) for participation in an online course.

Some online courses will have additional technical requirements - please check the individual course link (see course schedule) or contact the instructor for details.

 

Minimum Computer Configuration

2 GHZ Processor (Dual Core) or better

4 GB RAM (or more)

Internet access with an E-mail Account

Broadband (Cable or DSL)
    Prefer Ethernet (not Wireless)

Cookies Enabled

JavaScript Enabled

Plugins:  Latest Version of:  Adobe Reader, Flash, and Java

Course-specific plug-ins*

Course-specific software*

Course-specific hardware*

Recommended Windows Software: Microsoft Office 2007 or Office 2010

Recommended Mac OSX Software: Microsoft Office Office 2011

* Some courses may have additional technical requirements.

 

The following tables highlight the new platform and browser configurations tested for SP 11 using the following support terms:

  • Supported​: Supported by the vendor and Blackboard.
  • Unsupported: Unsupported by the vendor or not supported by Blackboard.

Run the browser checker to see whether Blackboard Learn supports your browser and operating system.

Microsoft Windows

Browsers Supported on Windows in SP11
  Internet Explorer 10 Internet Explorer 9 Internet Explorer 8 Firefox ESR1 Firefox (Final Release Channel)2 Chrome (Stable Channel)3
Windows XP (32-bit) Unsupported by Microsoft Unsupported by Microsoft Supported Supported Supported Supported
Windows Vista (32-bit) Unsupported by Microsoft Supported​ Supported Supported Supported Supported
Windows Vista (64-bit) Unsupported by Microsoft Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported
Windows 7 (32-bit) Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported
Windows 7 (64-bit) Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported
Windows 8 (32-bit) Supported Unsupported by Microsoft Unsupported by Microsoft Supported Supported Supported
Windows 8 (64-bit) Supported Unsupported by Microsoft Unsupported by Microsoft Supported Supported Supported

Apple Mac OS

Browsers Supported on Mac for SP11
  Safari 6.0.1 Safari 5.1 Safari 5.0 Safari 4.0 Firefox ESR1 Firefox4 (Final Release Channel)2 Chrome (Stable Channel)3
Mac OSX 10.6 Unsupported by Apple Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported Supported
Mac OSX 10.7 Supported Supported Unsupported by Apple Unsupported Supported Supported Supported
Mac OSX 10.8 Supported Supported Unsupported by Apple Unsupported Supported Supported Supported

1Firefox ESR is a release of Firefox intended for groups who install and maintain the desktop environment in large institutions. More information is available at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/organizations/.

2The Firefox Release Channel is the fully tested version by Mozilla and intended to be the most stable. This channel is updated roughly every six weeks. More information is available at http://blog.mozilla.com/blog/2011/04/13/new-channels-for-firefox-rapid-releases/.

3The Chrome Stable Channel is the fully tested version by Google and intended to be the most stable as the name implies. This channel is updated roughly every 2-3 weeks for minor releases and 6 weeks for major releases.More information is available at www.chromium.org.

Chrome users who have updated Java on their system to Java 7 will no longer be able to access Java applets – this will result in the loss of some Learn capabilities such as the Math Editor due to the incompatibilities between Chrome and Java 7. At the time of release of SP10/11 Chrome was tested for the ability to render Learn pages pertinent to the core functionality of Learn and as such Chrome was certified. Note that the Math Editor provided in 9.1 SP12 is delivered via JavaScript and is not impacted by the Java 7/Chrome incompatibility.

4Firefox 8 and Mac OS are not compatible with the drag and drop functions on Blackboard Learn.

Technologies Not Supported

The following technologies are not supported in SP 11:

  • Internet Explorer 6, 7
  • Firefox 1.x, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 3.6
  • Safari 2.0, 3.x and any version on Windows
  • Windows XP 64-bit
  • Mac OSX 10.3, 10.4, 10.5
  • Java 5, although it may continue to work

Other Support in SP 11

Accessibility and JAWS

Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. JAWS for Windows 11 and 12 were used during accessibility testing in SP 11.

JRE Support

JRE (Java Runtime Environment) is not required for users to access and interact with the Learn platform with the exception of the following features and tools:

  • Learn collaboration tools virtual classroom and chat
  • Multiple-file uploads
  • Math equation editor
  • Default text editor shipped with Learn 9.1 SP9 and earlier

Blackboard has tested and supports these features with version 7 JRE. JRE 6 may work, but could result in unexpected behavior. The JRE can be downloaded from http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html. Windows system administrators who want to provide auto-download for users can find the.cab file link for the appropriate JRE at http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/autodownload-140472.html.

For information on security and JRE, see this Blackboard Security Advisory.

Java Applet Code Signing

Java applets bundled with Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 11 are now signed with a timestamping authority, https://timestamp.geotrust.com, which certifies that the Blackboard code signing certificate was valid at the point in time when the applet was signed. Web browser client JDKs that trust the timestamping authority will run the applets without error, even after the Blackboard code signing certificate expires. All JDKs since version 1.5 trust this timestamping authority by default.

 

 

Configuration Notes:

  • 64-bit Client Operating Systems: We are generally un-prepared to test 64-bit versions of client operating systems.  We will continue to keep Windows XP 64-bit unlisted.  64-bit Windows Vista and Windows 7 will remain Compatible [June 2011]
  • Internet Explorer 8 is only supported in Standards Mode.
  • Internet Explorer 9 is only supported in Standards Mode.
  • Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible.  JAWS 11 and 12 are used during accessibility testing of 9.1 SP7.
  • Chrome support: due to the auto-update feature of Chrome, support is based on the version available at the time of testing - release docs will note version tested.
  • Firefox support: due to the auto-update feature of Firefox, support is based on the version available at the time of testing - release docs to note version tested.
  • Note on OSX 1.8 Java is no longer shipped as part of the OS install and must be downloaded and installed by users on request of application/applet - this is a one time action on the part of the user.

 

Client Technology Highlights of Changes from Previous Service Packs

  • OSX 10.8/Safari 6.x support added
  • Windows 8 and IE10 support added (focus on 64 bit)

 

Technologies NOT supported

  • Internet Explorer 6, 7
  • Firefox 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5
  • Safari 2.0, 3.x  (or any version on Windows)
  • Windows XP 64-bit (unlisted)
  • Mac OSX 10.3, OSX 10.4, OSX 10.5
  • JRE 5 though it may continue to work