Going back to school can be a difficult process. Going to an online school presents some extra benefits and extra challenges. Going to an online school undoubtedly requires the use of a computer. Many feel that they aren't well versed in technology and its uses and may find the process of ensuring that their computer is ready for school daunting. Computers come down to two basic things, hardware and software. Hardware is the physical parts of a computer that can bee seen, while software are the programs that are interacted with when the computer is turned on. Once a computer is purchased, borrowed, or upgraded, it's time to ensure that the software is up to date and ready for school.
The operating system, commonly referred to as an OS, is one of the most important pieces of software. The operating system the program that runs the entire program. It's what allows the user to open other software, and those programs run “inside” the operating system. There are several different operating systems out there. The choice of an operating system is personal preference. The important aspect is if the operating system is still supported. Support means that the company who made the software is still issuing updates, fixing any bugs, providing virus support, and offering help with technical issues. A supported operating system likely means that new programs will still be compatible with the computer.
A word processor will be the most used software by most online courses. A word processor is the software students use to type most online assignments and papers. The specific word processor is a matter of personal preference and cost.
Web browsers are the programs used to access most content on the internet, including web pages that an online school likely uses for its online classrooms. There are several different browsers, some come with an operating system and others are available to download. Some web pages work better in some browsers, so students should check the website of their chosen online school to see if they recommend a browser for the page. If the site doesn't have a recommendation, the student should check on their own to ensure that all the pages work in their preferred browser. Besides selecting the browser, many browsers support add-ons, programs that can be downloaded to expand the features of a browser. There are calender tools, chat tools, music tools, and nearly any kind of add on that can be though of. Adding these programs is personal preference, but it may help make education from an online school less stressful.
Obtaining an Anti-Virus program is essential to setting up a computer for an online school. School networks are hot spots for online viruses, often infecting a computer in seconds. Most of these infections can be prevented with Anti-Virus software. No one should enter online classes without obtaining this software.
An e-mail address is clearly important when attending an online school. However, some schools will assign a separate e-mail account, or some students may wish to have a separate e-mail address that is more professional than many e-mail addresses. Managing multiple e-mail accounts may cause some to neglect an e-mail account and miss important e-mails. There are programs that can be downloaded online allowing a user to view e-mails from multiple accounts from a single program. It isn't necessary, but those with multiple accounts should consider it.
This appears at the bottom of the list since it isn't essential for competing a degree from an online school, it is just a good idea. Becoming acquainted with sharing software can help an online school experience immensely. From creating sharable online documents and databases found in places like GoogleDocs, or programs that let people share files with each other like DropBox, being acquainted with easy ways to share and edit files as a group could be essential if any online coursework involves group collaboration.
Computers are great tools, and are essential to completing a degree online, and the right software can be a great a help for an online student.