Verify your computer meets system requirements for your courses and student support with the following guidelines and view recommended practices for dealing with computer emergencies. UTPB uses Blackboard in support of online, hybrid, web-enhanced, and "mixed mode" courses.
Use the UTPB Online Support Center
for the best guidance setting up your computer under Compatibility with Browsers/Software. At the UTPB Online Support Center
you can start a Live Chat or Submit a Ticket. You may also call 1-877-633-9152 for Blackboard support.
NOTE: Here is how you can figure out which browser you are using:
While using your browser/online application:
- Click on "Help" in the top menu bar
- This will launch a window that tells the name and version of the browser you are currently using
- Check for the browser name and version number
While using your browser/online application:
Click on Safari in upper left hand corner (OSX users choose either Explorer or Opera, etc.)
- Choose "About [BROWSER]
- Check browser name and version number.
Step 2 - Check for Plug-ins and Helper Applications
Now that you've confirmed you have a compatible browser and have it configured properly, it's time to make sure your computer has plug-ins and helper applications. Always check the course syllabus to find out exactly what is required. The requirements will vary from course to course. To quickly view browser components you are currently using use this Browser Test.
You may need:
Hardware and OS:
PC Configuration - (Recommended Hardware) Pentium 4 or newer processor supporting SSE2 and at least 512 MB or RAM on Windows 7 or newer operating system.
Mac Configuration - (Recommended Hardware) An Intel x86 processor and 512 MB of RAM and Mac OS X 10.5 or newer operating system.
For more information on supported operating systems visit:
Peripherals - You will need:
- web cam with built-in microphone
- speakers or a headset audio files
The course content is presented through Microsoft Office 2010 or better - Powerpoint presentations, Word documents, Acrobat documents PDF files, and in some cases, streaming video (MP4) and audio (MP3 or Real Audio). In order to view the content you may need these Microsoft Office programs, Acrobat Reader, Real Player, and other software as the course specifies.. Be prepared to submit all the course activities typed in Microsoft Word 2010 although this may vary with course. Consult with course syllabus and see Step 3 in Computer Set Up for more information.
Anti-virus software is highly recommended for students and instructors. Online courses often involve a large amount of file sharing which increases your risk of computer virus infection. Anti-virus software will help protect your computer in case of exposure to a computer virus.
Other software: Check your syllabus for specific software needs.
Recommended - Cable modem, DSL, or intranet (T-1); or 128 KBPS modem
Note: Corporate or academic security firewalls may block some course content, such as chat or streaming media. Accommodations for access can usually be arranged if you contact your network administrator, though local security policies ultimately dictate what is allowed. 56 K modem or better.
Computer Set Up
Every student who is taking a class, online/hybrid/enhanced, through Blackboard and every instructor who is teaching a class through Blackboard has to perform the following three steps to ensure your computer is set up right, your computer has a compatible browser and installed plug-ins and helper applications.
To test your browser version and plugins use this Browser Test.
Not having a working computer or a computer crash during the semester will NOT be considered as an acceptable reason for not completing course activities at a scheduled time for most instructors. NOTE: Identify a second computer before the semester begins, that you can use when/if your personal computer crashes.
When the Blackboard server needs downtime for maintenance, the Blackboard administrator will post an announcement in your course informing the time and the date. If the server experiences unforeseen problems your course instructor will send an email.
Complete Loss of Contact
If you lose contact with the instructor completely (i.e. you cannot contact them via Blackboard or email), you need to call their office and explain the reason you cannot contact them and leave a way to return contact to you.
You should keep/save a copy of every project/assignment on an external disk or personal computer. In the event of any kind of failure (e.g., Blackboard server crash or virus infection, students own computer crashes, loss of files in cyberspace, etc) or any contradictions/problems, the instructor may request a file be resubmitted. See course syllabus or contact instructor for more information and guidelines on what they require.
Additional Student Support and Technical Requirements
Respondus Lockdown Browser
Some of your online courses might have tests that require the use of a specialty browser.
To download Lockdown Browser, please visit http://www.respondus.com/lockdown/information.pl?ID=841715130 .
Smarthinking Online Tutoring
You can find the latest minimum technical requirements for Smarthinking at http://smarthinking.host4kb.com/article/AA-00204/7/Technical/What-are-the-minimum-technical-requirements-needed-to-use-Smarthinking.html.
SmarterMeasure is offered to students to measure learner readiness for online courses.
To successfully use SmarterMeasure, you must:
- Have Internet access with a 56K modem or faster.
- Accept browser cookies.
- Set your browser to refresh at every page.
- Not be behind a firewall that blocks cookies or blocks access to a secure server.
- Turn off pop-up blocking. (Internet Explorer users only)
- Have speakers connected to your computer and turned on.
Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher