How To Set Up Your Computer For An Online Class

When taking an online class, your most important tool is your computer. Many students choose not to pursue an online education because they’re worried that they aren’t tech-savvy enough to set up their computer correctly to handle an online class. It’s actually easier than you think!

School Requirements

Before you start worrying about how to optimize your computer, you need to at least make sure that you meet minimum requirements. This will vary from school to school, but most colleges realize that their students may not have the money to own the latest and greatest computers on the market. If your computer is less than two years old, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to run any online class you come across, and even if it is as old as five years, you may only need minor upgrades to be able to get your education online.

Speakers and Microphone

Chances are that, at some point, you’ll need to communicate with your professors and other students. While you can do this through text, as in a chat room or through email, in many cases, you’ll find that hearing your professors’ and classmates’ voices helps you to connect with them better. If your computer didn’t come with speakers built in, you’ll need to purchase external speakers. A microphone will allow you to share your thoughts on a subject – with most standard computers, you’ll need to purchase an external mic, since few have them built in. You can also consider a headset instead of separate speakers and mic, which will give you a smoother, easier, hands-free way to communicate. There are reviews of a number of different headsets online here.

Connecting to the Internet

Most students experiencing technological problems with online education have issues with connecting to the Internet. A high-speed connection may be necessary to run the programs used to host your class. Even then, if you have an old computer or a unreliable Internet source, you may have trouble with your computer freezing in the middle of class. You can minimize problems by closing out all other programs, which could be eating up some of your bandwidth. Downloading music while you’re trying to attend a video lecture is just a bad idea.


Along with fairly recent hardware, it is important that the software on your computer be up to your college’s standards. Most schools require you to submit papers in a document format program, such as Microsoft Word or its free counterpart. Depending on your major, you may also need the ability to open PDF files, videos, MP3 files, and other kinds of multimedia files. All of the programs you need for school should be either free or provided by your college, so it is just a matter of making sure they’re downloaded and installed to your computer before you first day of classes.

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