Online skills and computer requirements

Massey University is committed to exploiting the potential of the internet and new digital media to enhance the learning experience. However, we know that many of our students feel anxious about their level of computer and online skills when they think about study through Massey University by distance learning.

The following list helps to indicate the basic skills and requirements expected of our distance students when the programme of study is supported by online learning.

Online technical skills

  • Know the procedures for accessing the Internet through your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Know how to operate the basic search and navigation features of a Web browser
  • Know how to use e-mail to send and receive messages and attachments
  • Know how to download and open PDF documents
  • Know how to store and retrieve electronic documents for future use
  • Be comfortable reading and contributing to online discussion groups
  • Be comfortable writing papers using a word processing application
  • Be comfortable using your computer with several windows open at the same time

Online equipment requirements

Minimum specifications

  • Your own Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other means to access the Internet
  • A modem that can maintain a connection speed of 56.6bits per second or higher*
  • A computer installed with Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or later, or
  • A Macintosh with OS 10.6.8 or later
  • A DVD combo drive
  • A source to print course documents (optional, but recommended)
  • A sound card and speakers 

*A broadband connection is usually required for courses which are fully taught online via Stream.

Recommended specifications

If you are looking at buying a new computer or upgrading your current one, we recommend the following specifications as a minimum:

PC

  • Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz Processor
  • 500 Gigabyte hard drive
  • 4 Gigabytes of RAM
  • DVD-ROM/Writer Optical drive
  • Sound card and speakers
  • 22-inch SVGA colour monitor
  • Windows 7 (or later)
  • printer

Mac/Apple

  • Most new Mac computers would meet these requirements, however, please confirm with the retail agent before purchasing.

Commonly used applications

  • Internet browsers
  • An e-mail programme like Microsoft's Outlook, Entourage, or Gmail
  • A word processing application like Microsoft Word or Open Office
  • Adobe's free Adobe Reader
  • Presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote (optional, but recommended)
  • Video playing software like Quicktime, Media Player or Adobe Flash Player

Important considerations

Some courses make use of PC-only software. You should take this into account if you are planning to purchase an Apple Macintosh computer. Apple retailers can offer advice on Mac/PC compatibility.

If you need further advice on the computing requirements for a particular course please contact the relevant department or course coordinator. If you want more general guidance on computers in distance learning, contact the Online Teaching Support Consultant by phoning 0800 MASSEY or e-mail contact@massey.ac.nz.

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