Your Success Is Our Mission

Distance Learning Requirements & Competencies


Below are general computer system requirements and recommendations for students planning to take online courses. It would be a good idea for you to also look at the online Course Requirements (also known as Get the 411) before you register for a fully online course!

Determining whether you are ready for Online Learning should be a large step in deciding to take an online class. For the past two years Blue Ridge has been researching the predictors for success for students enrolling in online courses. As a part of our accreditation process, this particular side of Distance Learning has become part of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that we are deeply committed to. Although flexibility in scheduling is one part of your decision, please consider the statement below which is a brief summary of the QEP findings.

"Analysis of our data from surveys, interviews, and focus groups along with professional articles suggest factors such as computer skills, reading comprehension, preference for online learning, independent learning style, time management skills, realistic expectations about demands of an online course, a required orientation, minimum GPA, and consideration of the history of withdrawing from courses are predictors for success in an online course." (QEP 2008)

Before you enroll in an online course, you should be comfortable demonstrating the skills listed above and below. To determine this, please take the "Are you ready for Distance Learning?" assessment. There you will be asked questions on topics in the areas of how well you can use a computer; how motivated, organized, and self-directed you are; and how you prefer to learn new information. 


Distance Learners should be able to:

  • Communicate well in writing 
  • Effectively manage your time

 Distance Learners should:

  • Have the computer operation skills as listed:
  • Start up and shut down your computer system and peripherals
  • Identify and use icons, windows and menus
  • Download and install helper applications such as Real Media players, etc.
  • Point, click, double-click and click and drag with mouse
  • Use pull-down menus
  • Select, open, move and close a window
  • Scroll up/down and left/right
  • Start an application and create a document
  • Name, save, retrieve and revise a document
  • Name a document
  • Save a document using the save and save as command
  • Use printing options
  • Cut and paste between applications
  • Use and correctly size graphics for use on the Internet (including PowerPoint files uploaded to the Internet)
  • Have the basic internet skills as listed:
  • Connect to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider
  • Access and use resources on the World Wide WebUse browser software and set appropriate Options for Popups, Cookie access, etc.
  • Navigate to a specific Web site
  • Navigate to a search engine site and perform a specific search using Boolean techniques
  • Complete and submit online forms
  • Utilize email effectively
  • Send, open, reply to and forward messages
  • Send, open, and save attachments
  • Use signatures
  • Utilize search engines
  • finding websites
  • online research
  • Participate in online discussions and forums


If you take a distance-learning course, you are responsible for the following:

  • Reading the assigned materials and being prepared to discuss them in an online discussion forum or Wiki
  • Completing assigned lab exercises
  • Completion of all reading assignments and exercises required to pass this course.
  • Communicating often with your instructor


Computer and system requirements:

  • Be aware that Moodle has not been tested or approved for use with mobile devices such as your smart phone. 
  • Please note: some courses may have additional and/or alternate computer requirements Browsers, Plug-ins, Players and Viewers.
   VERY Minimum  Optimum
  • 1 GHz+
  • Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core/ 1.6 GHz+

Memory (RAM)

  • 512MB
  • 4 Gb + (as much as you can get!)
Hard Drive
  • 40Gb
  • 1 TB+
  • 16x
Choose from:
  • SATA DVD/CD-RW combo
  • SATA SuperMulti
  • LightScribe DVD Writer
  • 56Kbps
  • Cable or DSL - fast access
Operating System (PC) Choose from:
  • Windows XP, SP3
  • Windows 7
Choose from:
  • Windows XP, SP3
  • Windows 7

(Vista not well supported)

Operating System (MAC)
  • MAC OS 10.2 or higher
  • MAC OS v10.5
  • 15"
  • 17" 800x600 SVGA, true Color
Web Browser Choose from:
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari

Note: AOL browser not recommended or supported

Choose from latest versions:
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome 
  • Safari

Latest versions of I.E. may need to be run in compatibility mode to work in Moodle

Business Apps Choose from:
  • MS Works 2007
  • Open Office
  • LibreOffice
Choose from:
  • MS Office 2010
  • Open Office
  • LibreOffice

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