A large portion of courses at Blue Ridge Community College require the use of technology.

This document outlines the minimal technology requirements and recommendations needed for students to be successful. This document also highlights College technology resources that are available to help you succeed. Some courses have additional requirements beyond those outlined here. Please refer to the Course Requirements Outline or the course syllabus for each of your courses to understand any requirements that are specific to a given course.

Access to College technology resources is governed by our Acceptable Use Policy 8.1.3.

Minimum Standard Computer Requirements:

Hardware:

  • A laptop or desktop computer purchased within the last five years
  • Network capabilities – either wireless or wired

Software:

  • Any of the following operating systems:
    • Microsoft Windows 10 or newer
    • MacOS 12 or later
    • ChromeOS 96 or later
  • Web browser that:
    • Is not end of life / end of support
    • Has been updated within the last month
    • Is still receiving software updates
    • Is set to automatically apply updates

Additional Requirements for Hybrid and Online Courses

Internet Access:
Students taking online courses must have broadband Internet access at home or at a location where they can spend adequate time to complete online coursework. Broadband Internet access is defined by the FCC as: at least 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload speed.

Recommendations:

Web Browsers:
We recommend using either: Mozilla FireFox or the Google Chrome web browser. Although Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari also generally work, those browsers have demonstrated more compatibility issues than FireFox or Chrome.

Tablet and smartphone devices:
Do not use tablet or smartphone devices for coursework. Although a tablet or smartphone can potentially be used for some coursework, there are numerous known compatibility issues that could cause significant issues including inability to complete important course exams or submit required assignments.

VPN services: Do not use a VPN service to access any online College resource. VPN services often interfere with the delivery of online content, particularly from 3rd party providers such as online textbooks, online labs, library resources and exam software. Cybersecurity tools used by the College as well as by 3rd party providers often flag or block connections made over a VPN. If you regularly use a VPN, we strongly recommend you temporarily disable it while accessing College resources or other online course content.

Resources:

Open Computer Labs: Computers are available for student use at our Henderson County and Transylvania County campus libraries.

Laptop loaner program: In order to help ensure our students can succeed, Blue Ridge Community College also operates a loaner laptop program at our Henderson County and Transylvania County campus libraries. Loaner laptops are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Internet HotSpot Loaner program: Our campus libraries also operate a wireless Internet ‘hotspot’ loaner program. These hotspot devices are available based on a faculty or student services referral and are also on a first come, first served basis.

Requirements for Widely Used Online Software

Labster Online Science Simulation Software

Respondus Online Proctoring Software

Cengage SAM / MindTap Online Technical Simulations

Microsoft Office 365 – Online Productivity Suite

MyLab – Online Math Lab Software