Hardware and Software

What hardware and software will I need as a minimum (and what version)?

One "software" requirement for these master's degree programs is the current edition of the APA Publications Manual (also know as the APA Style Guide) published by the American Psychological Association. You can purchase the book online at the APA Web site.

Software Requirements

The current version of Microsoft Office is required. Ball State students qualify for a discounted rate for Microsoft Office, which contains Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These programs are required in different courses.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required and may be downloaded free.

In addition, some courses require software for Web page creation. Microsoft FrontPage is recommended. Unfortunately, Microsoft FrontPage is not included in the campus software agreement.

To connect to the Internet, you need to have an account with an Internet Service Provider. A broadband connection from home is strongly recommended and may become a requirement in the near future. Those who access course materials only at work or during work hours are disadvantaged.

As an enrolled student, Ball State University will allocate a limited amount of storage space for documents and Web sites you might create.

For certain courses, you may need access to a digital still camera and a video camera, a flatbed scanner, speakers, and a microphone. Check with the instructor.

Hardware Requirements  

Suggested minimum computer hardware requirements can be found on the Information Technology Services Web site.

Do I need a camera for my computer (still or motion)?

Certain courses will require you to have access to a digital still camera or a video camera. A webcam may also be useful.

Will a firewall cause any problems?

A firewall is designed to allow a user to regulate who and what is allowed to come in or go out of a computer via the connection to the Internet. As long as your firewall is configured to allow your browser and media player (such as RealPlayer) to access the Internet, you should have no problems. Sometimes another program with connectivity will try to access the Internet connection program-specific downloads (this often happens with Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat). Your firewall should alert you that the application is attempting to connect to the Web and ask you if you want to permit it to. Never authorize a program to access the Internet if you do not know exactly what that program is.

In rare instances, students who have attempted to access online quizzes from within some school districts' firewalls have experienced connectivity problems. In these cases, the students have accessed quizzes from computers outside that firewall.

Will a pop-up blocker cause any problems?

Yes. If you use software that blocks pop-up windows, it may prevent you from viewing some legitimate files used in some courses. If you use Windows XP and Internet Explorer, there is an easy way to allow pop-ups only from Ball State.

To change the pop-up blocker settings:

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Pop-up Blocker, and then click Pop-up Blocker Settings.
  3. In the Address of the Website to allow box, type blackboard.bsu.edu and click Add. This will allow you to see pop-ups from Ball State.

Can I use a 28K or 56K modem?

Broadband/high-speed access is a requirement.

Is there any voice interaction? Do I need a microphone or special software?

Looking ahead, it is a good idea to have a computer with both a microphone and speakers. It might be that none of your instructors require this, but with an increase in interactivity in online classes it is likely to be of benefit to you.

What if I am not very good at typing or keyboarding?

Not to worry, you will be able to work at your own pace and utilize your own strengths. Still, it helps if you are able to type at a reasonable rate.

If I am not very good with computers, will I be able to succeed in an online class?

Yes. Basic skills such as word processing and browsing the Internet for research are necessary, but you do not have to be a computer expert to succeed.

What do I do if I do not have an e-mail account and do not know how to establish one?

As a registered Ball State University student, you will have an e-mail account established for you. You will also have a limited amount of storage space on Ball State's servers for your documents and Web pages.

Related Links

Online Learning Tutorial

Will using a Mac cause any difficulties?

The dominance of PCs sometimes leads to difficulties for Macintosh users. Instructors are encouraged to accommodate students who use Macs.

Does Ball State offer software discounts to online students?

Yes. Ball State does offer software discounts for online students.