Technology Recommendations for Learning Online at FSU

For the best online learning experience, please keep the technical recommendations in this article in mind.

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General Technology Recommendations

These are the minimum technical capabilities that we recommend for online learning. Some courses and degree programs, particularly those involving specialized software, may have more stringent hardware, software, and internet requirements. Check your course syllabi for details, or speak to an academic advisor within your major to ensure that you will have everything you need.

  • Hardware:
    • Laptop or desktop computer with at least 4GB of memory and 128 GB of storage (If you are purchasing a new computer, it may be optimal to purchase one with at least 8GB of memory and at least 256GB of internal storage).

      Keep in mind:

      • A smartphone or tablet may be usable for some functions, but will likely be inadequate for many course needs, so access to a computer is essential. Chromebooks have capabilities between those of a tablet and a laptop, meaning that they may be adequate for some courses but not for others. Contact your degree program's academic advisor if you have any questions regarding the computing capabilities needed to complete your degree coursework.
      • If your device is running low on storage, you can supplement it with free cloud storage provided by FSU for your course files.
    • Headphones (we recommend a headset that combines headphones and microphone if your instructors will be using Zoom web-conferencing)
    • Microphone
    • Speakers
    • Webcam
    • Printer with built-in scanner. If you do not have access to a scanner, we recommend using the Microsoft Office Lens app on a smart phone (available for both Android and Apple devices). Microsoft Office Lens is free, syncs with your FSU Office 365 OneDrive, and will allow you to convert your scans to PDF, Word, and PowerPoint file formats.

      If using Microsoft Office Lens, it may take practice to produce readable PDFs with your smartphone. For best results, try to capture the scan looking straight down on your paper with light coming from the sides to avoid shadows. Make sure to check all scans for legibility before uploading them to your course.

    • Additional hardware as requested by your instructor

  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.7 or newer, Windows 7 or newer
  • Internet connection: A reliable, high-speed internet connection like DSL, cable or WiFi is best.

    The FCC recommends a minimum internet download speed of 5-25 megabits per second (Mbps) for online learning. If the internet connection is shared among multiple users, more than the minimum will be needed (check your internet speed). Keep in mind that home internet providers typically limit the upload speed to a small fraction of the download speed, so it will take a long time to upload a large file from home to Canvas, cloud storage, or FSU's Dropbox. For example, it will take almost an hour to upload 300 MB if your upload speed is 800 kbps = 0.8 Mbps. A "blip" in the upload process may force you to restart from the beginning. If you can, it may help reduce problems to upload large files during off-peak hours.

  • Software:
    • Latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome
    • Virus protection software
    • Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus (free to all FSU students, faculty, and staff). You can use the browser-based version of Office 365, but we recommend downloading Office 365 pro plus to your device so you that you can use it offline and will have access to expanded functionality.
    • FSU Dropbox if you need to send files outside of Canvas that are too large for email (free to all FSU students, faculty, and staff)
    • Other software as required by your instructor

Optional Technology

Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage can supplement storage on your own device. FSU provides up to 5TB of free online, encrypted storage for all students, faculty, and staff.

Canvas Recommendations

If your computer meets the general technology recommendations described above, then it will likely meet the system and browser requirements for FSU's Canvas. For best results when using FSU's Canvas, please make sure your computer meets the system and browser requirements specified in these resources:

*While Canvas officially supports the use of the Microsoft Edge and Safari browsers, we have found that they tend to experience more display bugs, so we strongly recommend that you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead (however, Mozilla Firefox ESR is not supported and may result in an "unsupported browser" message in Canvas). We have also found that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox tend to result in a better web experience with Canvas, Turnitin, Kaltura, and many of our other supported external apps.

Zoom Recommendations

If your computer meets the general technology recommendations described above, then it will likely meet the minimum technical requirements for FSU's Zoom. For best results, we recommend using the Zoom Desktop Client on a computer and keeping it up-to-date. Make sure that your device meets the following technical requirements:

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