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Distance Learning

Am I ready for Distance Learning?

Students considering enrolling in online courses at Point Park University should consider the following information before registering for an online course:

Course Technology

All course syllabi, related content and interaction will take place using the Point Park University Blackboard course management system. The Point Park Blackboard course management system can be accessed via secure student login at http://pointpark.blackboard.com.  For problems or questions related to Blackboard access, please contact the Point Park University helpdesk at 412-392-3494 or by emailing the helpdesk at helpdesk@pointpark.edu. Point Park University uses current Microsoft Office products for documents and files.  It is highly suggested for students to also use Microsoft Office products in order to be able to meet course requirements.  If a student cannot afford to purchase a license for Microsoft Office, they can try one of the following options:

*Students may also find it useful to have Windows Media Player and Acrobat Reader.

Computer Desktops and Notebooks

To help ensure any desktop or notebook you purchase is compatible on Point Park University’s network and with University-related student service systems, the suggested specifications are listed below for both PC and Macintosh computers.
Note:  Email and PointWeb are primarily designed for a Microsoft Windows platform and Internet Explorer 6.x while the Firefox browser is recommended for use with Blackboard.

Suggested Requirements for PC Desktops or Notebooks*

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7
Processor: Intel Core i3
RAM: 2GB
Video Memory: 256MB or higher
Hard Disk Space: 150 GB
Wired Ethernet Adapter: 100/1000MB
WiFi Capabilities
DVD-ROM / CD-Burner

*Macintosh specifications should match this as closely as possible and should be at least an Intel-based model running OS X 10.5 or higher.

Additional Technology Requirements

High-Speed Internet Access*
WebCam / Video Conferencing Capabilities*
USB Headphone / Microphone*
Up-To-Date Antivirus Software
Access to Microsoft Office 2007 or Equivalent Office Productivity Suite**

*Requirement for any students enrolled in online and / or hybrid courses.
**Must be able to create and open files in the standard Microsoft Office 2007 or greater formats (e.g., .DOCX, .XLSX, .PPTX, etc.).       

Skills Requirements

Before you take an online class, you should be confident about your computer and study skills. Review the following list of requirements to assess your readiness to take online classes.

  • I know how to connect to the Internet using a web browser.
  • I can navigate the Internet and know how to use search engines.
  • I know how to send and receive e-mail using the e-mail system of my choice.
  • I know how to do basic word processing, including cutting and pasting.
  • I know how to open, save, and manage files.
  • I have access to a reliable computer with a high speed connection 5-7 days per week.
  • The computer I will use meets the basic technology requirements for online classes (see above)
  • I have 12 to 15 hours a week to work on each online class.
  • I can motivate myself to log in to my Blackboard classroom several times a week.
  • I have good reading comprehension and written communication skills, and I enjoy communicating in writing.
  • I enjoy figuring things out on my own but am able to ask for help when I need it.

If you can't answer "Yes" to all these questions, you may not be quite ready for online learning and need to develop additional skills. It is suggested that the student contact the instructor of record for the course for more details.