Computer Skill Evaluation

If you answered “no” to any of the questions, read more about the skill and why it is important below. You may want to also read why other skills are important too.

Can you use a web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator or Safari?
Many of our course materials are posted on the Internet. To view them you must be able to use a web browser to view web pages and links to other types of documents.

Can you use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect?
Many of our online courses have writing assignments. Being able to use a word processor and save documents will be required in most classes.  Being able to use other word processing features, such as spell check is also helpful.

Are you comfortable having more than one program open at a time or viewing more than one web page at a time?
Online course materials may open in a new browser window.  You will need to know how to switch between several open windows in your web browser. It is also helpful to be able to cut/copy information between windows.

Can you send e-mail, including attachments?
Many instructors prefer to have written assignments sent as e-mail attachments. To send an attachment you will need to know how to locate  your document files on your computer.

Can you cut/copy and paste text?
When completing written assignments or participating in online discussions, it will be easier to copy information rather than retyping it.

Can you download and install a computer program or plug-in?
If you do not already have a word processing program or other program required by your course, you will need to install it on your computer. To Viewing some documents may also require the installation of software to your web browser.  These extra programs are referred to as plug-ins, for example, the Adobe Reader or Flash Player.

Are you comfortable learning a new computer program?
Success in an online course depends upon learning to use the course software. Although our online learning system, Blackboard, is relatively simple to use, students may have difficulty with the course if they are not able to learn the software on their own or are intimidated by learning new software.

Are you comfortable using online Help or a manual to solve problems and answer questions?
Being willing and able to consult an online tutorial, help system, or software manual will increase your success with your online coursework as most questions about using the course software will be answered by these sources. If you do get stuck, assistance is available from support staff or your instructor.

Are there areas you do not feel comfortable with?  If you do not feel confident in a particular area, we recommend you improve that skill before taking your first online class.