Technology Requirements for Online and Hybrid Courses

Technical Support

Information on technical services provided by the University may be found on the Information Technology (IT) website: Visit the IT page.


You may also contact IT at:

Accessibility for Online and Hybrid Courses

Piedmont University is proud to offer online and hybrid courses accessible to all students. If you require additional accommodation based on your abilities, please contact Dr. Sue Smith, coordinator of the Office of Accessibility, Resources, and Services (OARS), at 706-778-8500 x1504 or email suesmith@piedmont.edu.

Computer and Internet Requirements

It is the responsibility of the student to secure and maintain access to required technology resources, including an internet connection, when taking a Piedmont University online or hybrid course.

An internet connection is necessary to participate in discussions and assignments, read email, access course resources, and receive feedback from your instructor. A broadband internet connection with download and upload speeds greater than 25 Mbps is recommended.

Students enrolling in online or hybrid courses are expected to have a basic working knowledge of computers, internet use, and word processing. For technology requirements specific to a course, please review the minimum technology requirements found in the course syllabus.

As online courses may contain elements requiring students to install program files or work with sophisticated web-based tasks, the exclusive use of Chromebooks, tablets, and/or smartphones is not supported for online or hybrid courses. Students registering for an online or hybrid course need to ensure they have consistent and reliable access to either a Mac or Windows desktop or laptop. It is also required that either the student be able to access the appropriate administrative privileges on their computer in order to install and run any software, program files, or updates that may be required for a particular course.

Ideally, computers should be under five years old to accommodate up-to-date software. If you have an older computer, you may wish to consider upgrading computers, or adding newer components to your current computer, to ensure your machine is suitable for coursework over several years.

Recommended Computer Specifications

Although computer specifications can vary greatly, we recommend the following for online courses:

  • WIFI: If connecting wirelessly to the internet, we recommend Dual-Band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) Wireless 802.11ac capable WIFI or greater. Students with home internet download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps or greater, such as with gigabit fiber connections, may experience improved wireless speeds with a WIFI 6 router or WIFI 6 mesh system accompanied by compatible devices. For more information about residential internet and WIFI, please contact your internet service provider. It is not recommended that students use publicly available WIFI hotspots when accessing or sharing sensitive data. Students should consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN) to help safeguard the transfer of sensitive data over internet connections.
  • Processor: Should have a 64-bit multicore processor or better.
  • Memory: 16GB RAM or greater for most courses. Increased memory tends to improve performance and speed. If you work with intensive programs—such as some video, graphics, or music editing software, you may find that 32GB of RAM or greater is more suitable.
  • Operating System: Windows or MacOS. Experienced users may be able to work with Linux and similar platforms; however, these systems may not be supported by all manufacturers of required course materials. If possible, it is recommended that students taking online courses work within Windows or MacOS.
  • Storage and backup: It is highly recommended that students have a plan for backing up and storing data. Cloud storage options such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, Box, etc. are commonly used solutions. Students may also wish to use external options such as flash drives or external solid state drives (SSD).
  • Browser: Piedmont University Canvas courses are developed and tested using Google’s Chrome web browser. Students using Mac computers should be able to quickly access Chrome in the event they encounter a display issue when accessing course materials on Safari. 
Cameras and Webcams

To comply with federal requirements to verify and track the identity of students in online courses, Piedmont University requires the use of webcams or cameras connected to the student computer. Online courses contain at least several identity checkpoints requiring camera access. Camera access is also required for many online assessments in order to verify student identity and help ensure the integrity of the assessment.

Audio

Videoconferencing is a regular, required component of many online and hybrid courses. Students should carefully consider the environment they are in when speaking and listening attentively is required. In addition to making every effort to create an environment free from major distractions, it is also important to consider how technology may support or hinder online interactions. The following recommendations are provided to help students make decisions about how to prepare for success in online scenarios where either videoconferencing or recording audio/video is integral to the course.

  • Use earphones, earbuds, or headphones instead of speakers when in a video meeting.
    • External speakers can sometimes create sound reverberations and distortions if audio feedback loops are accidentally created in concert with the computer microphone. Although newer tools and software greatly minimize this risk, students are encouraged to test their speakers and microphone prior to a live class session in order to make any necessary adjustments.
    • Many headset microphones are commonly available for use with most desktops and laptops. These contain built-in microphones and tend to work well for video conferencing as they do not create audio feedback loops. Additionally, many bluetooth earbuds commonly used with smartphones also have built-in microphones and can be acceptable tools for live class discussions.
    • If you have a pair of larger on-ear or over-ear headphones,  you may need to secure an additional microphone for your computer. If you are using a webcam, you are likely adequately equipped as these contain built-in microphones for video conferencing.
    • If you are unable to work in a quiet environment, consider noise canceling headphones to help you focus on class conversations.
  • Make sure your microphone communicates clear audio for your listeners.
    • Many earbuds and wireless headphones do not have great microphone quality. If necessary, consider purchasing a separate microphone to use with your online courses.

Canvas LMS

All Piedmont University courses use the Canvas learning management system as the official platform for online instruction. A Canvas student app is available for Android and iOS.

  • Canvas LMS is best viewed and experienced with the Chrome web browser.
  • Support for Canvas is available 24/7 via live chat. Click/Tap for Canvas Support Live Chat
  • If you prefer to contact Canvas Support by telephone, the following number may be used 24/7 to obtain assistance: 1-833-723-6108

Zoom Video

Piedmont University uses Zoom for required videoconferencing. Students must have access to a computer and internet connection that does not block access to this and other required tools. As many school districts block access to online tools not in use by the district, teachers and other district employees enrolled in courses within the College of Education should also be aware that they may not be able to participate in synchronous course events on their school campus or with their district-issued technology devices. Students need to ensure they can access all required technology tools, including for synchronous events, in order to participate in a Piedmont University online or hybrid course.