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Technology Must-Haves For Online Students


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Cloud computingTechnology is a must-have for conducting online education. Having the right technology enables students to focus more on learning and less on technical issues. For example, having to troubleshoot educational media interfaces using the wrong technology can make students late for live online classes. Before applying and enrolling in an online degree program it is wise to first verify the technological requirements of each of your college choices. In most cases, there are several technological necessities that will facilitate and improve an online education.

Since a large amount of online education involves the use of computers, having software that is up to the task is imperative. For example, in order to view video demonstrations, both flash player and silverlight plug-ins are often needed. Additionally, when studying, digital applications such as Evernote and Study Blue are recommended by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Specific classes and online programs may also have their own proprietary or licensed software that is only compatible with specific versions of operating systems and browsers. For instance, online graphic design classes often require Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign software.

In addition to various software applications, when pursuing online education, Cloud technology is useful to e-students, if not essential. For instance, networking and collaboration platforms such as Students Cloud help students manage their educational goals, contacts and e-learning experience. Moreover, Cloud applications Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive are used independently or outside formal curriculum for tasks including the pooling of notes or unofficial group discussions. At the institutional end cloud computing has been approached cautiously by educational institutions due to security, privacy and regulatory concerns per the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. However, as schools further embrace Cloud computing, student involvement with this technology will become a greater necessity.

Although it goes without saying a quality Internet connection is essential for online education, a sufficient download and upload speed is necessary to properly facilitate live e-learning discussions, interactive online platforms and classes where real time communication is required. Internet connections can be tested via online tools such as the Global Broadband Speed Test. Moreover, if specific e-learning programs require minimum download speeds, this test can help determine if that requirement is being met. Internet connections can also be optimized via technology such as wireless routers, and USB adaptors that enable multiple wireless connections to the Internet. Using these tools helps free up electronic equipment for more consistent and timely access to online classes.

Hardware suited to the tasks of online education is also a technology must-have for online students. Educational hardware includes any piece of equipment required by or necessary for successful completion of an online course. For instance, a digital camera may be required for online photography classes, and a scanner may be necessary to digitally archive official paper records and high resolution hand crafted design drawings and diagrams. External hard drives, or flash drives for backup storage of assignments and classes are also a must have for students concerned about data loss. Additionally, having enough random access memory or RAM to avoid using a hard drive for short-term memory storage is also helpful for simultaneous multi-tasking via applications such as screen casters, word processors, and online digital platforms.

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