Technology Requirements

Alvernia Online students are responsible for communications software and internet service. There are both minimum and suggested requirements for computer setup. The Blackboard learning management system, where students access their online courses, is accessible through the Alvernia Website at

Students who enroll in Alvernia online courses must possess basic computer skills and have regular access to appropriate computer hardware, software, headset & microphone and Internet connectivity in order to fully participate in coursework.




Processor Core2Duo i5 or i7
OS Windows 7 Windows 10
Disk space 250 GB 500 GB or higher
Connection DSL (at least 3mbps) Broadband, Cable (10mbps+)
Browser Microsoft IE 11 (IE7,8,9,10 not compatible) Microsoft IE 11, Firefox 43, Chrome 47
Flash Player 20 20
Java 7 8 update 71




Processor Core2Duo i5 or i7
OS Snow Leopard 10.6 Yosemite 10.10.5 or El Capitan 11
Disk space 250 GB 500 GB or higher
Connection DSL (at least 3mbps) Broadband, Cable (10mbps+)
Browser Safari 5.0 Safari 9, Firefox 43, Chrome 47
Flash Player 20 20
Java 7 8 update 71
  *Apple supplies their own version of Java for Mac OS X versions 10.6 and below. Users should go to Software Update  under the Apple menu to look for updates.

Free programs, tools and media players

Below is a list of free downloadable browsers, programs, and players that can be used to help you through your online learning experience.

Mozilla Firefox - web browser
Google Chrome - web browser
ZOOM - web/video conferencing
JAVA - required for Blackboard to function properly
Adobe Reader - to view pdf files.
Macromedia Flash Player - to view video podcasts
Windows Media (players, encoders and codes)
QuickTime Player - to view and stream multimedia
VLC Video Lan Player. - best free multimedia player

Students who enroll in Alvernia online courses must have basic computer skills, such as turning on a computer, typing on a keyboard, navigating with a mouse, connecting to an internet browser, creating, proficiency with sending/receiving e-mail, including e-mail with attached files, thorough knowledge of word processing, including attachments, spell check, copy and paste, creating and editing a spreadsheet or a powerpoint presentation, saving a document as a file, naming and organizing files, using a headset, microphone and a web camera.

Students should have regular access to the appropriate computer hardware, software and internet connection. Up-to-date technology will contribute to your successful and effective means of participating in an online course. It is very important to note that technology is constantly changing.

Operating Systems 

For PC users, preferred operating systems

  • Windows 7 or 10 (recommended)
  • Windows Vista, 8.1, XP (No longer supported)

For MAC users, preferred operating systems

  • MAC OS X 10.6 and above is supported for most online course materials, but there may be applications that require a supported Windows Operating System. You should be prepared to run a virtual machine environment such as Parallels desktop, vmWare fusion, Oracle VirtualBox with an installed and supported Windows Operating System (as mentioned above) if you elect to use a Mac.

Computer Hardware

Alvernia University supports both MAC and PC computer platforms. Consider computer hardware that is capable of handling multimedia playback, document processing, and high speed internet browsing. Also, be mindful of your screen size; it should be a comfortable size for you to work on. Your screen resolution (size) should be set at minimum 1280 x 1024 or higher.

Consider purchasing a quality USB Headset & Microphone. A good microphone headset will provide an excellent audio experience for you and participants of an online course. Some online classes will meet live “synchronously” and you will be required to participate by voice.

Consider purchasing a good quality Web Camera. If you own a modern laptop, you will most likely have one already built-in. Some online courses may use live video technology for communicating and collaborating.

Computer Software & Plug-ins

Students taking online courses are responsible for having the required software prior to each semester start date. It is highly recommended that you have administrative rights to the computer used for online coursework. If you must use a computer over which you do not have administrative rights (such as a library computer or a workplace computer), you may experience difficulties with needed functions, such as staying up-to-date with and installing plug-ins. Students using library or workplace computers will have limited support options due to access limitations on such networks. Prior to taking an online course, check with the Alvernia IT Department to ensure that you may access course materials from your company’s network.

Internet Access

Internet access is required to participate in online components of your college courses at Alvernia. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with the software and access necessary to utilize the Internet in order of preference:

  • Broadband (LAN, Cable) connection is highly recommended for optimal student experience and is required for all technical programs. This is the best type of high speed internet connection for attending Alvernia classes online. This type of service is usually offered through a local cable service provider.
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services come in various grades. It is recommended to use a 3 Mbps downstream/384 Kbps upstream or better DSL connection. Contact your service provider to find out the speeds available. The faster the connection, the better your online course experience will be.
  • Satellite and/or Cellular (3G/4G LTE) may also be used

A wireless or satellite internet connection is not preferred. Connecting wirelessly or via satellite causes the student to experience delays or disconnection when streaming video or taking online tests. If a student is using a broadband wireless router, he or she will be required to physically plug in to the connection box rather than using the router for streaming video. However, a wireless or satellite connection can be used for most of the other functions needed such as content browsing or e-mail. If you connect to the Internet through your company, you may need to ensure that appropriate plug-ins and access rights are available to you. Check with your IT department to ensure that you may access course materials from your company's network.

  • Dial-Up not preferred

Dial-up - We recognize that it is challenging for students who live in rural areas to find a high speed internet service. However, a dial-up modem internet connection is not acceptable for use in viewing video lectures. We want each student to get the best experience and education possible through the online program, so we highly recommend a high speed broadband or DSL connection.

Many small, private companies are now offering high speed connections to rural areas. You may find such a company in your area by searching the internet for “high speed internet Your city, Your state.” Also, keep in mind that with special permission, some employers will allow employees to use their computers at work for educational purposes.


A valid University email address will be provided for you which you should check frequently and is required for participation in components of your online coursework; which is our preferred and recommended option. This will help you avoid issues with Spam blockers and other problems that may prevent you from receiving email from your professors. It will also enable you to participate in special student offers that are available only to students with a ".edu" email address. If you change your email address, you must supply the correct address to Alvernia Student Services. You can access your University supplied student email account by logging in to the Alvernia Website Logins Page and clicking on an Email link here.

Internet Browsers

A properly configured and up-to-date Internet Browser is required to participate in online activities. Major releases of browsers are generally supported within 60-90 days of their public release date. Due to the rapid release cycles of some supported Internet browsers, the two latest releases of each browser are supported. When using older versions of a browser, users risk running into problems with the course software.

If you are using a PC consider using the latest version of

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Chrome

If you are using a MAC consider using the latest

  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Chrome

Internet Browsers not mentioned above are NOT currently supported and may not meet all requirements of your coursework. In order for your browser to function properly, it need to be configured with the following specifications:

Pop-up blockers

A pop-up is a small web browser window that appears on top of the website you’re viewing. Some technologies, like blackboard, depend on pop-ups to display additional course content. In order for the online content to work properly, you’ll need to disable any pop-up blockers in place on your computer.

  • Safari - Internet browsers like Safari come with a built-in pop-up blocker that can be turned off and on very easily. To do so, locate the Safari menu on the top left corner of your monitor, click and deselect “Block Pop Up Windows”
  • Internet Explorer - For Internet explorer browser, locate and click the tools menu on the top right corner of your browser and choose Internet options from the drop down menu. A new window will appear. Locate and click the Privacy tab. Within the Privacy tab, there is a setting for pop-up blocker. To disable your pop-up blocker for our blackboard system, click on settings. Type in the address bar and click Add. To disable the pop-up blocker for all sites, simply uncheck “Turn on Pop-up blocker."
  • Firefox - While your Firefox browser is open, locate and click the Firefox menu at the top left corner let of your monitor. Choose preferences from the drop down menu.. A new menu box will appear, locate and click content. To disable your pop-up blocker for our blackboard system, locate and click exceptions.  In the new window, type the blackboard address, in the space provided and click "Allow." To disable the pop-up blocker for all websites uncheck “Block Pop-up windows."
  • Google Chrome - On the toolbar of your Google Chrome browser, locate and click on the wrench icon. Choose preferences from the drop down menu. In Google Chrome preferences window, click under the hood on the left side of the menu.  Scroll down in this menu and locate the Pop-ups section. Click "Allow" all sites to show pop-ups.


  • Adobe Flash Player is a plugin that allows your computer to stream video and audio. It enables students and professors to deliver and view rich and interactive content across browsers. Professors teaching online courses may deliver multimedia content as part of their courswork. To download and install Adobe Flash Player, navigate to “” to obtain the latest verison. Locate and click  “Download Now.” Proceed accordingly with additional prompts that are browser specific to complete the installation process.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader is a plugin that allows to view and interact with PDF files. Professors teaching online courses may post course documents that are in PDf file formats such as Powerpoint slides, that will require students to have Acrobat Reader. To download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader, navigate ot “” to obtain the latest verison. Locate and click “Download Now”. Proceed accordingly with additional prompts that are browser specific to complete the installation process.
  • Apple QuickTime Player is a plugin that is equipped with a media player which allows users to view internet videos in a wide range of file formats. To download and install Apple QuickTime Player, navigate to “”  In the new browser window,  locate and click the Apple support link on the left side of the browser. In the new browser window, scroll down the page until you see multiple download options. If you are using a PC, locate and click on the download link “QuickTime for Windows.” If you are operating on a Mac, locate and click the download link “QuickTime player for Mac OS or later.” Proceed accordingly with additional prompts that are browser specific to complete the installation process.
  • Java is a plugin that extends the functionality of web browsers. There are a lot of applications and websites that will not work properly unless Java is installed on your computer. For online courses, programs like Blackboard and Wimba will not work properly without the Java plugin. To download and install Java, navigate to “” In the new browser window, locate and click the “Free Java download” box. Proceed accordingly with additional prompts that are browser specific to complete the installation process.

All plug-ins needed to participate in components of your online classes are available at no additional cost. It is recommended that you review the list of plugins and install them prior to beginning your coursework.

Productivity Tools

Please Note: Some audio/video files may be provided in MP3 or MP4 format to make them capable for downloading to mobile devices such as an MP3/4 player or tablet, but individual devices are not supported by Alvernia University. Students should seek assistance from the device manufacturer should they require assistance with the videos playing on a specific device.

Specific curricula for online courses may require additional software purchases. Any additional software requirements will be provided in the syllabi for your courses.

Internet Security 

The ease and convenience of accessing educational materials through the Internet brings with it the need to ensure that our computers do not become targets of unwanted and often malicious attacks and intrusions by computer viruses and/or hackers.

To prevent this, we recommend using an anti-virus package and a firewall. Your computer is subject to virus attack whether you're surfing the Internet or getting information from USB drives, DVDs or a network. Email attachments are particularly vulnerable.

We recommend obtaining anti-virus/anti-malware software from one of the major vendors; such as McAfee, Norton, AVG,  Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows, or similar to protect your computer from viruses and other types of computer threats. Since an anti-virus/anti-malware program is no better than its virus definitions, virus definitions should be updated regularly, preferably on a weekly basis.

Personal firewalls are another means to protect your computer from malicious activity when you are connected to the Internet. Windows comes with a built-in personal Firewall. It is recommended that you enable the Windows Firewall and learn how to use this application. A firewall can help prevent hackers or malicious software (such as worms) from gaining access to your computer through a network or the Internet. A firewall can also help stop your computer from sending malicious software to other computers. Most of the major anti-virus vendors also supply firewall software along with their anti-virus/anti-malware options.

Along with keeping your antivirus updated, it is equally; if not more important to also ensure that your Windows and Mac updates are current. As Microsoft & Apple find weaknesses in their Operating Systems, they post updates that can be downloaded and installed. These updates can be set to occur automatically, but they may at times require user input to complete the update. Your Operating System updates should be checked on a weekly basis.

Have additional questions about our online learning technical requirements? Request more information or call 610.927.2008 and a member of our team will be glad to help.

Tags: browser, computer, hardware, online, requirements, software, technology
Last update:
2017-03-24 15:03
Average rating: 5 (1 Vote)

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