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Technical Requirements

  1. System Requirements
  2. Internet Connection
  3. Browser Compatibility & Configuration
  4. Browser Plug-ins
  5. Virus Protection
  6. Firewall Configuration

1. System Requirements

The computer system(s) you will be using needs to meet certain system and software requirements in order to access Blackboard, Odessa College’s Web-based course management system. This page provides the information you need to assure you are ready to connect to your course.

If your computer does not have the proper hardware, Blackboard may run slowly or may not function correctly. Prior to using Blackboard on your computer, compare your current system configuration with the system requirements below.

Windows

Macintosh

Minimum System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements

Operating
System:

Windows XP SP2

Operating
System:

OS X (10.5)
(Leopard)

Processor:

300 MHz
1 GHz or higher for Windows Vista & 7

Processor:

Any Intel (single or dual) or Power PC G5 867 MHz

RAM:

256 MB

RAM:

512 MB

 

Recommended System Requirements

Recommended System Requirements

Operating
System:

Windows XP SP 3, Windows Vista &7 (both 32 and 64-bit)

Operating
System:

OS X (10.5) or higher (10.6, 10.7, 10.8)

Processor:

1 GHz or higher

Processor:

Any Intel

RAM:

1 GB or higher

RAM:

1 GB or higher



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2. Internet Connection

Connection Speed

Online courses may require you to download/upload large files and may also include streaming audio and video both of which require faster connection speeds. To function properly, Blackboard requires a high-speed Internet connection (dsl, cable modem, or intranet (T-1). If you use a dial-up connection , you may encounter difficulties when loading pages, especially during peak usage times. You will also find that both audio and video playback can be very choppy. Additionally, downloading or uploading assignments may take a long time.

Internet Connection Issues

In many classes students are required to be online to begin and to submit a Blackboard assessment (test, quiz or survey). If the student loses an Internet connection while taking a Blackboard assessment, this can prevent the successful submission of a Blackboard assessment.

Reasons that a student's connection may be interrupted might include:

  • The student's ISP timing their connection out after a certain amount of inactivity. Many ISPs have an 'idle time-out' on their dialup connections. Filling in forms does not generate traffic back and forth across the Internet connection, and it is not viewed as "activity" for the purpose of automatic time-outs. This means if you're online but not actually using the connection they will kick you off for being idle after a set amount of time - often around the 10 minute mark.
  • Blackboard timing their connection out after three hours of inactivity. After three hours, Blackboard will end the user's session automatically.
  • Modem problems or interruptions (such as call waiting).
  • Power failures
  • System crashes

To minimize the risk of connection interruption, students can:

  • Open a second browser window and use it to generate some traffic every few minutes to keep the connection active with KeepALIVE!. KeepALIVE! is a self-refreshing webpage that sends a 'page request' to your ISP every few minutes so they don't throw you off for being idle. Simply go to this URL and follow the instructions before starting your online test: http://www.sector101.fsnet.co.uk/keepalive/aboutka.html
  • Contact their ISP to understand the time-out restrictions
  • Refer to their modem or Dial-up Settings documentation to learn how to disable call-waiting or other services that may cause interruption.
  • Utilize connection maintenance utilities such as StayAlive Pro (http://www.bysoft.com/stayalive.html) or which generate background traffic so the user does not get disconnected. Note: these may not work with all ISPs and may violate some ISPs' user agreements.

If the connection is terminated a student should:

  • NOT close the assessment browser window
  • Attempt to re-connect immediately

If the browser is not closed and the connection can be re-established, the student may be able to successfully submit the quiz. Obviously, this would not apply to a power failure or system crash.


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3. Browser Compatibility & Configuration

The following tables highlight the new platform and browser configurations tested for SP 12 using the following support terms:

  • Certified: Fully supported technology with highest level of testing before release.

  • Compatible: Fully supported technology with minimal level of testing before release.

  • Unsupported: Unsupported technology because it is either impossible or not tested.

Microsoft Windows

  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 Unsupported Compatible Certified Compatible Compatible
Windows Vista (32-bit) Unsupported Certified Compatible Certified Certified Compatible
Windows Vista (64-bit) Unsupported Compatible Compatible Certified Compatible Compatible
Windows 7 (32-bit) Unsupported Certified Compatible Certified Certified Certified
Windows 7 (64-bit) Unsupported Certified Compatible Certified Certified Certified
Windows 8 (32-bit) Compatible Unsupported Unsupported Certified Certified Certified
Windows 8 (64-bit) Certified Unsupported Unsupported Certified Certified Certified

Apple Mac OS

  Safari 6.0.1 Safari 5.1 Safari 5.0 Safari 4.0 Firefox ESR1 Firefox (Final Release Channel)2 Chrome4
(Stable Channel)3
Mac OSX 10.6 Unsupported Certified Certified Compatible Certified Certified Certified
Mac OSX 10.7 Certified
(10.7.5)
Certified Unsupported Unsupported Certified Certified Certified
Mac OSX 10.8 Certified
(10.8.2)
Certified Unsupported Unsupported Certified Certified Certified


1 Firefox 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/.

2 The 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/.

3 The 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.

4 The Mac OS X version of Chrome browser does not support Java 7.

Your browser must be configured properly as follows:

  • JavaScript must be enabled
  • Cookies must be enabled
  • Pop-up blockers must be disabled
  • Set Internet Explorer to Trust http://blackboard.odessa.edu/

Technologies Not Supported

The following technologies are not supported in SP 12:

  • 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

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4. Browser Plug-ins

You will need at least three browser plug-ins to use Blackboard: Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player, and the Java Runtime Environment plug-in. (You may need additional plug-ins if the course you are taking includes multimedia elements.)

To download and install the current versions of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player:

  1. Go to http://www.adobe.com/.
  2. Click the “Get Adobe Reader” button & install.
  3. Return to http://www.adobe.com/.
  4. Click the “Get Adobe Flash Player” button & install.
  5. Go to Do I have Java to check what Java version you have istalled.
  6. Click the “Verify Java version” button & install if necessary.

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5. Virus Protection

If you do not own virus scanning software, it is highly recommended you buy one. Odessa College uses Trend Micro, but many more scanners are available such as, Microsoft Security Essentials,McAfee, Norton, Housecall and others. It is important to keep your virus scanner software up-to-date to continually protect your system.


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6. Firewall Configuration

Many computers use a firewall to block harmful programs and data from their computers. These firewalls are also capable of blocking certain aspects of Blackboard, so your firewall may need to be configured manually to allow Blackboard to operate properly.

If you access Blackboard from home and have a firewall installed, you may need to make changes to the firewall settings to allow access to Blackboard at http://blackboard.odessa.edu/.


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