Online/Blended Education understands that students will have varying degrees of technical experience and ability when they begin their studies. However, due to the key role technology plays in Online/Blended Education students’ studies all students must be able to engage with relevant technologies to a minimum level. It is expected that students will have a computer competency level equivalent to the International Computer Driving Licence (IDCL) (https://icdl.org/). That is, students should be familiar with using email, browsing the Internet, and using the word processing package Microsoft Word.
In addition, students must have regular access to a good quality Computer (loaded with Microsoft Office) and a broadband Internet connection. The web browser a student uses must be able to play Macromedia Flash, Shockwave, Java and the Adobe Acrobat PDF file reader. (These internet browser plug-ins are freely available.)
The reason that students must have a regular access to a computer with broadband is that substantial use is made of online support via the virtual learning environment Moodle, with some learning resources only being available from that source. Students are required to access the online journal databases available through the Setanta College online library. Students should also be able to attend ‘live’ virtual classrooms. In order to facilitate online communication in ‘live’ virtual classrooms students should have a high quality headset/microphone (built in microphones and speakers in laptops or desktops cannot be used as they give rise to sound problems) and a webcam is also desirable.
For students, the following system configuration and software are recommended for optimal performance: • Platforms: Mac OS X 10.6 or higher or Windows 7 or higher or Linux- Chrome OS • Hardware: 1 GB of RAM with 2 GHz processor, CD-ROM, and 50 Gb free disk space • Productivity Software: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 or higher; Adobe Reader 10.0 or higher • Web Browser: Firefox 3.0 or higher, Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher, Safari 4.0 or higher, or Chrome • Email: Outlook, Outlook Express, Mac Mail, Eudora, Entourage, or Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail • Internet Speed: 512 kbps, for optimal performance 1 Mbps • Web Camera and microphone.