Personal Computer System Requirements

In order to take online or hybrid courses, or to do computer work for on campus classes from home, you must own or have convenient access to a computer system with the following minimum qualifications:

 

 What is Blackboard®? 

Blackboard is a Web-based learning management system (LMS) designed to support fully online courses, hybrid courses or face-to-face course supplementation. Blackboard provides many types of tools and features for enriching the learning experience and it integrates with Colleague to provide a space for each course taught each semester. Student enrollments and faculty assignments are handled automatically by the system. Blackboard supports various media types for creating engaging content so there are some computer system requirements for it to work correctly.

Computer System Requirements: 

  MINIMUM
RECOMMEMDED
 Operating System Windows 7 or higher
Mac OSX 10.8 or higher
Windows 10
Mac OS 10.12
Processor 1 GHz processor 2 GHz or faster processor
Memory 512 MB of RAM 2 GB of RAM or higher
Monitor Resolution 1024 x 768 1024 x 768 or higher
Free Hard Disk Space 5 GB of free disk space 20 GB or higher of free space
Internet Connection Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a consistent minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps.

PLEASE NOTE: Consistent means that your connection does not fall below 1.5 Mbps during regular usage. If your speed is slower than 1.5 Mbps, you may need to find an alternative way to access the Internet either by finding a different Internet service provider or using the wireless connection at a public facility (i.e. a BC3 computer lab or a library).
Direct connections to the router are preferred over wireless or satellite connections. AOL is not compatible with Blackboard.

Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a speed of 4 Mbps or higher
Internet Browser* Respondus Lockdown Browser® and Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft® Edge, Safari®, Chrome® or Firefox® Respondus Lockdown Browser® and Firefox
Java** Java is required to use Blackboard®. Visit our Java section below for information.
Macromedia Flash Player Flash may be required to play videos within the Blackboard® system. You can download Flash from the Adobe® website.
  • The use of Wi-Fi and hot spot connections could result in slowness, errors, timeouts and access problems when accessing Blackboard course materials and taking exams.
  • The use of public access internet or computers (i.e., Restaurants and libraries) may result in slowness, timeouts or access problems when accessing Blackboard course materials and/or exams. Public access computers may not permit any access to certain course materials or software due to security limitations. (i.e., Respondus LockDown Browser®)
  • Students need to have access to a PC or Mac computer but may use a mobile device such as a phone or tablet as a secondary means to access Blackboard via the Blackboard mobile app.  However, course      materials and/or exams may be limited on mobile devices unless otherwise specified by instructor.

Browser and System Check: 

To ensure your system is compatible with Blackboard, run the Browser and Operating System Check. This page will test your computer for up-to-date browsers, plugins, and other software necessary for working in Blackboard.

*Internet Browsers: 

Generally, it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your computer for a couple of reasons. First, you always want a plan B. If you are trying to perform time sensitive tasks in Blackboard®, you do not want to waste time troubleshooting your browser or downloading a new browser. Having multiple browsers already installed allows you to quickly switch to a different browser when you have a browser related issue.

Second, it helps to rule out browser related issues. If you are having problems in one browser and not another, then you know there is something going on with your browser or its settings. If you are having the same problem in multiple browsers, then you will know that it is either a system issue or something related to Blackboard®.

**Some exams REQUIRE that you use the Respondus Lockdown Browser®. This browser is only used for exam purposes.

LockDown Browser System Requirements

To download and install the Respondus LockDown Browser®, go to Third Party Applications & Support

PLEASE NOTE:  It is not recommended to use cell phone browsers to submit course work or take exams as unexpected results may occur. Blackboard does provide an app for Android, Blackberry and iPhone OS called Mobile Learn, but unless the exam is setup for the mobile app, the exam will not work.

BC3 recommends using ONLY the browsers listed below when using Blackboard and supplemental software.

Some configuration options for Internet Explorer might make some features of Blackboard® difficult to use. To learn more,  see Internet Explorer Security Zones and Compatibility View topic in this section. We do NOT recommend that students use Internet Explorer with Blackboard® due to the security and other features that interact negatively with the system.

Links to the vendor sites for the browsers are included in this topic. To learn more about Blackboard's general browser support policy as well as information about Javascript, Cookies, and other software, see the Browser Support Policy topic in this section. 

**JAVA: 

Java is a programming language and software platform that is required for certain features of Blackboard® to function properly. Some of the important features which use Java include assessments, surveys, discussions, file uploading, and downloading.

Browser Settings for Use with Blackboard®: 

Regardless of the browser being used, Blackboard Learn requires the use of session cookies and javascript enabled in the user's browser to provide the right experience for teaching and learning. Additional acceptance of persistent cookies or third-party cookies may be required for some features to function correctly, including WebDAV access to course files or content collection files.

Must have all settings where appropriate. (Instruction below in table.)

  • Cookies Enabled
  • JavaScript Enabled
  • Trusted Sites – add BC3, Blackboard and Respondus.com or Respondus2.com
  • Security – set to low or medium-low
  • Popup Blockers Disabled or add BC3, Blackboard, MyBC3 Portal and Respondus.com or Respondus2.com to ALLOWED sites
BROWSERS SETTINGS

Mozilla Firefox

(PC and Mac)

Firefox browser logo

NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Menu (ex. Firefox > Preferences)

Enable Cookies: Tools > Options > Privacy > History pane: Use custom settings for history > Cookies > select “Accept cookies from sites” and "Accept third-party cookies." OK back to browser.

Enable JavaScript: Tools > Options > Content > check the “Enable JavaScript” box. OK back to browser.

Get new page each visit: Tools > Options > Privacy > History pane: Use custom settings for history > select "Clear history when Firefox closes“. Click Settings and select "Cache.” OK and OK back to browser.

Popup Blocker Settings: Tools > Options > Content > Click the “Exceptions” button next to Block Pop-up Windows > Add bc3.edu, blackboard.bc3.edu and Respondus.com (or Respondus2.com for the Chrome Beta version) > Click Allow and Close. OK back to browser.

Clear Browser Cache: Tools > Clear Recent History > Select Cache. OK back to browser.

Google Chrome

(PC and Mac)

Google Chrome Logo

NOTE: for Mac OS X browsers, access preferences via the Application Menu (ex. Chrome > Preferences).

Enable Cookies: Settings > Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content Settings... > Cookies > check "Allow local data to be set." OK and close Settings tab back to browser.

Enable JavaScript: Settings > Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content Settings... > JavaScript > check “Allow sites to run JavaScript”. OK and close Settings tab back to browser.

Get new page each visit: Settings > Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content Settings... > Cookies > Select "Keep local data only until I quit my browser” OK. Close Settings tab back to browser.

NOTE: This will also clear your cookie each time the browser is closed. Unfortunately, Chrome does not have a mechanism to automatically clear only the cache. You could alternatively just routinely clear the browser cache (instructions provided below).

Pop-up Blocker Settings: Settings > Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content Settings... > Pop-ups > Click the “Manage exceptions” button > Add bc3.edu, blackboard.bc3.edu and Respondus.com (or Respondus2.com for the Chrome Beta version) > set behavior to "Allow." OK and close Settings tab back to browser.

Clear Browser Cache: History > Clear browsing data: Select "the beginning of time" from the "Obliterate..." drop down, Select "Empty the cache" and click the Clear browsing data button. Close Settings tab back to browser.

  DO NOT USE Internet Explorer, Edge or Safari (on Mac) when using Blackboard or supplemental software in conjunction with Blackboard.
   

Additional Materials: 

A webcam and microphone will be required for all online courses, and may be required for hybrid courses. Additional software may be required. On-campus access will not be available for all software, for example, QuickBooks®.

PLEASE NOTE: Additional costs for proctoring services or use of other technologies and practices may apply and notice of such costs will be provided to students at the time of registration. Costs  may vary.

Other Browser Plugins

A handful of Blackboard Learn features require particular additional software to be installed. Without these, the features themselves do not function. Users may be prompted to install the additional software when accessing these features, or depending on individual browser security settings, users may need to acknowledge a browser message allowing the plugin to run on their system.

Blackboard Learn can be used to serve media content or other types of specialized content that requires a browser plugin such as Java, Flash Player, Apple QuickTime, or other plug-ins to render the content. In these scenarios, the version of the plugin and the browsers that are compatible with the plug-in, as well as installation and configuration instructions for the plug-in, are determined by the nature of the content and will vary.

The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) from Oracle enabled as a browser plug-in is required.

JRE version 7 is the recommended version for features that depend on it. JRE version 6 may work, but could result in unexpected behavior. Oracle has acknowledged some security issues with JRE version 6.

(download the latest versions)

Browser Support Policy

Blackboard's approach to determining browser testing and validation is driven by two main considerations:
  1. We want to test and validate the latest browsers, especially where browser auto-updates drive rapid end user upgrades.
  2. We want to test and validate an appropriately broad set of browsers that are being used among our clients.

When a browser is listed as tested and validated, Blackboard is committed to supporting client usage in two main ways:

  1. Before a Learn release, by testing the available browser and operating system combinations to prevent any browser issues from being released.
  2. After a Learn release, by rapidly addressing client issues by:
  • Accepting Support cases on the platform technology, assisting with resolution, and escalating the issues for resolution, regardless of the browser in use.
  • Working to resolve any browser issues in product releases as with any other type of issue.

Use ONLY the browsers listed below:

  • Firefox from Mozilla
  • Chrome from Google

With these browsers, Blackboard tests their latest "stable" release channel at the time of testing, which is the channel that gets the most testing by the browser vendors themselves before being released to users.

In addition, Blackboard tests and validates Firefox's specialized Extended Support Release (ESR) channel, which is a subset of their stable channel designed for enterprise-wide deployment. To learn more, see Firefox's Extended Support Release page.

Blackboard's Approach to Rendering in Browsers

The rendering layer of Blackboard Learn consists of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript that all comply with modern standards for those languages.

Our universal design approach focuses on interoperability. This means that wherever possible we do not write code specific to a certain browser or we use the minimum amount of encapsulation to handle variations among the browsers.

  • The rendering layer of Blackboard Learn interacts with the rendering engine of your browser, which is the part that draws the web pages in the main part of the browser window.
  • All of the browser rendering engines are designed to work well with standards-compliant markup in HTML, CSS and Javascript. This includes:
    • WebKit, which powers Safari, Chrome, and Opera
    • Blink, a version of WebKit that powers the most recent versions of Chrome
    • Trident, which powers Internet Explorer
    • Gecko, which powers Firefox

This design approach to the rendering layer of Blackboard Learn allows us to be confident that new versions of browsers, when released, will continue to work with current versions of Learn.

Blackboard's Approach to Browser Testing

To verify this confidence with each new release, Blackboard executes our browser compatibility test suite against newly released browser versions on multiple OS combinations to ensure function prior to releasing a given version. This testing leverages the full set of automation and manual testing strategies available to ensure confidence in testing.

Newer Browser Versions

Because of the increased frequency of new browser version released by some vendors, Blackboard's policy is to support all new browser versions released to the market as Generally Available or by supported release channels, even if the browser is released after testing has concluded for the release. We address any critical browser issues found by clients in the field against a provisionally supported browser as a top priority. We execute frequent test cycles against new browsers to ensure the system continues to perform as expected and will update client facing supported browser documentation appropriately.

Older Browsers

Just as we recommend keeping up with the latest version of Blackboard Learn for the best experience, the browser vendors make the same recommendation about their software. Blackboard still accepts client issues for these browsers reported to Support and will attempt to replicate the issue on a fully supported browser.  If it cannot replicate the issue, Blackboard will recommend that the client move to a browser version fully supported by Blackboard.

Assistive Software and Accessibility 

Blackboard is fully committed to ensuring that our platform contains no barriers for users with disabilities and is both usable and accessible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation. Our commitment can be evidenced by the following third party evaluations of the Blackboard Learn platform:

Conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Priority AA, issued December 2012 by Deque Systems

Blackboard Learn is the first and only LMS in the world to deliver a conformance statement by a third-party, demonstrating our focus and determination to deliver excellence for everyone.

Gold level certification for non-visual access, issued by The National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Blackboard was the first LMS in the world to achieve this certification. With valuable input from our clients and a strong set of development and testing tools, we invest in accessible products and capabilities that meet the wide range of our client’s needs. To fulfill this promise we are continually partnering with industry experts to audit our code and user interface design techniques to ensure the accessibility of the products.

Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility using two sets of standards: theWCAG 2.0 standards issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued in the United States federal government.

Browser and Operating System Check on how to use Blackboard's accessibility features, go to http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Learn/Resources/Accessibility/Accessibility-Resources.aspx

Technologies NOT Supported by BC3 or Blackboard (Bb) 9: 

  • COMPUTERS, TABLETS, SMARTPHONES AND ANY OTHER TYPES OF MOBILE DEVICES:
    • Apple: i.e., iPad, iPod and iPhones
    • Android: Tablets {i.e., Lenovo Idea Pad, Dell Streak, HP Multi-touch, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon Kindle Fire, Asus Nexus, Barnes and Noble Nook, and so forth) and any Android Smartphone
    • Windows: Tablets (i.e., Surface RT) and any Windows Smartphone
    • Google Chrome book
PLEASE NOTE: The lists above are only a few examples of these types of devices.
  • BROWSERS:
    • Internet Explorer Version 10 or earlier is not supported (Bb and BC3)
    • Netscape Navigator: All versions of Netscape Navigator are not supported (Bb and BC3)
    • Opera: All versions of the Opera browser are not supported (Bb and BC3)
    • Safari Version 5.0 or earlier are not supported for Macintosh (Bb and BC3)
    • Safari: All versions of the Safari browser are not supported for Windows’ PCs (Bb and BC3)
  • OPERATING SYSTEMS
    • Windows OS 64-bit
    • Mac OSX 64-bit

Computer System Requirements - Printable Document: