What you need to know in order to keep your computer operating system, software applications, and web browsers up-to-date, as well as how to connect to Kent State University's online resources such as Blackboard Learn and University Libraries.
The Kent State Online Technology Help Center can help you with problems with Blackboard, logging in to your online course, as well as hardware and software issues. Contact TechHelp by either submitting a Support Ticket or get help via a LiveChat with support staff. You can also call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: 330-672-HELP.
A laptop or desktop with the following minimum specifications is required:
- a minimum of a 2GHz processor
- a minimum of 4GB of RAM
Online courses and certain programs that require students to use processor intensive software applications may have special computer hardware requirements. If you think your course might have such requirements, please contact the instructor. The Kent State University Bookstore often has student discounts available on purchases of new computer hardware.
A DSL, cable connection, or greater is recommended. Online classes at Kent State University employ a variety of multimedia materials that will be viewed and downloaded. You must have a connection that allows for the streaming and downloading of potentially large size files in a timely manner. Dial-up is not sufficient.
Kent State University provides technical support for a limited number of operating systems and software applications. The following required computer operating systems and software applications are supported by the KSU Helpdesk:
- Windows 7 or newer system operating software for PC computers
- Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or newer system operating software for Apple Mac computers
- Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Antivirus for Windows OS, Microsoft Security Essentials
- Antivirus for Mac OS, Sophos
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
A list of available free and/or discounted software downloads for students is available from Information Services. Active, full-time, and part-time students who are registered for classes are provided with free access to Office 365 as well as other free and discounted software. Additional software such as Windows 10, can be purchased for a discount at the Kent State University Microsoft site.
For a more detailed list of technology recommendations and links to help information for setting up your computer for course work, please review the Kent State Technology Guidebook.
Update your computer operating system
Keeping your operating system up to date is important for security features and bug fixes
- For Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1:
- Locate the Start button in the task bar. Click on the Start button and select "All Programs". Select "Windows Update". Click check for updates.
- For Windows 10
- Locate the Start button in the task bar. Click on Settings in the left pane, then click Update and Security. Click check for updates.
- For Mac OS X Users:
- Locate the Apple icon in the top left corner of the desktop menu bar. Click on the Apple, select “App Store...". Then click on the Update tab (it will check for updates).
Update your web browser
In order to ensure maximum compatibility with the features and functions of the Blackboard Learn learning management system, you MUST update your web browser to the latest updated version of ONE of the following:
Once you have downloaded and installed your choice of web browser, make sure to change the web browser's preference setting to automatically download updates. You can use the Blackboard browser checker to confirm your browser and settings are up to date for use in your online course.
Install web browser plug-ins
Download and install the following (for both PC and Apple Mac platforms):
- Required Java - The latest Java version contains important enhancements to improve performance, stability and security of the Java applications that run on your machine. Installing this free update will ensure that your Java applications continue to run safely and efficiently.
- Required Flash - Adobe Flash Player is a cross-platform, browser-based application that provides viewing of applications, content, and videos across various browsers and operating systems. Be sure to keep Flash up to date with the latest bug fixes and security features.
Connecting from Off-Campus
KSU Proxy allows Library users to securely connect to databases, electronic journals, ebooks and streaming media services without installing complicated third-party software. When you attempt to access library content from off campus, you’re prompted to enter your FlashLine username and password after which you’re connected. It’s that easy.
The Virtual Private Network (VPN) service is also available which allows you to create a secure connection via the Internet between your computer and the Kent State University network. This service can be used if the Proxy is unavailable or if you already have the VPN installed.
Online Proctored Testing
Some courses have proctored testing for exams. Kent State University uses Proctorio and ProctorU for online proctored testing. If your course is using Proctorio you will need the Proctorio Chrome browser extension. If your course uses ProctorU, visit the Kent portal for ProctorU to learn how it works and what you need to get started. More information on proctored testing is also available for your reference.
Your course may use Blackboard Collaborate for synchronous sessions, discussions, group work, or office hours. If you are unfamiliar with Collaborate or have any questions refer to the Blackboard Collaborate Start Here page. Please view how to Join a Session if you would like guidance on getting into a Collaborate room.