Computer Requirements and Access
Recommended Computer Specifications and Software
- Personal computer: All students are expected to have regular access to a personal computer.
- Reliable High-Speed Internet Access: Southwestern’s minimum recommended internet speeds are 10 Mbps for downloading and 5 Mbps for uploading. Please use these specifications when purchasing your internet service from an internet service provider.
- Operating System: Either Windows or Mac OS—within 2 generations of the current release.
- Web Browser: Google Chrome is recommended as the default browser. Some students use Mozilla Firefox, but other browsers may negatively affect experience with Blackboard or other programs.
- Microsoft Office: All students receive a free Microsoft 365 account. This includes the basic office suite (including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint) as well as a number of other collaborative tools. Refer to course syllabi for any recommendations or limitations of word processing or presentation tools.
- Discount Hardware: Some computer hardware resellers provide educational discounts for their hardware. For more information visit: technology.swbts.edu/home/tools-resources-students/#hardwarestudents
- Additional software licenses: Students are expected to have legally acquired access to all applications and software on their personal computers and operate within the bounds of their respective end user license agreements. To find educational discounts for software, visit technology.swbts.edu/home/tools-resources-students/#softwarestudents for more information.
- Bible Software packages: Students taking Biblical Greek II or Biblical Hebrew II are expected to own either Accordance or Logos.
- Roberts Library Computer Lab: While the computer lab in Roberts Library cannot replace students' need for access to their own personal computer, it is available for use for all residential students.
Additional Requirements for Students Enrolled in an Online Course
In addition to the above expectations for all students, the following minimum requirements and best practices are applicable for students who intend to participate online in a live class or seminar. This applies to any student who is enrolled as an online student in a Synchronous course, any student who is enrolled as an online student and opts to attend live online class sessions of a Flexible course, or any Ph.D. student who anticipates attending any doctoral seminars online via Flexible-Access.
Southwestern offers a variety of online education formats. These are defined below.
- Flexible: This format allows students the choice to view live class lectures via Zoom at the days and times listed or view the recorded lectures at their convenience each week.
- Synchronous (Live Interaction): This format requires online attendance via Zoom at the days and times listed.
- Asynchronous: This format presents course content through multimedia with weekly coursework that can be completed at any time during the week.
- Flexible Access: This format allows Ph.D. students (upon the approval of the professor) to attend doctoral seminars synchronously online via Zoom, either on occasion, as needed, or regularly.
Minimum Requirements to Participate Online in a Live Class or Seminar
- Zoom Installation and Navigation: Zoom is the supported video-conferencing platform for class and seminar participation. Any student who intends to participate online in a live class or seminar must install Zoom and be able to navigate the user interface according to the needs of their class or seminar. Zoom is free and is available at www.zoom.us/downloads. Students may learn more about using Zoom at SWBTS by checking out the resources available at http://technology.swbts.edu/home/zoom-students/.
- Reliable High-Speed Internet Access: 10 Mbps for downloading and 5 Mbps for uploading are the minimum recommended speeds. Please use these specifications when purchasing internet service.
- Pre-Semester TechCheck: Any student who intends to participate online in a live class or seminar session must meet with a member of the Campus Technology online in a Zoom meeting to verify network speeds, hard-line network connection, computer processing and settings, Zoom navigation, and approved headset. Students must complete a techcheck each semester in which they intend to participate online in a live class or seminar. You may contact the Help Desk to schedule your techcheck by emailing CampusTechnology@swbts.edu or calling (817) 921-8555
Additional Best Practices for Participating Online in a Live Class or Seminar
- Hard-line Connection: Students participating online in a live class or seminar are expected to maintain a hard-line network connection anytime they are participating in class via Zoom. Wi-Fi can be unstable and may cause interruptions to the class.
- Headset: Student attending classes or seminars online via a Synchronous or Flexible-Access model are expected to use a headset in order to prevent audio feedback and minimize noise from their remote location. Campus Technology recommends the Logitech H390 as an affordable headset option.
Tech Check Failure Protocol
- If a student is unable to demonstrate the minimum internet speeds or any of the other best practices during their techcheck such that this failure interferes with the student’s ability to participate in their Synchronous Live or Flexible Access class, Campus Technology will make recommendations for correcting the deficient issue. A second techcheck will be required to demonstrate best practice and minimum requirements. If at any point, the student is unable or unwilling to operate according to the above expectations, Campus Technology will notify the professor and registrar of the failed techcheck. It will then be the professor’s decision to allow the student to remain enrolled in the course or ask for them to be un-enrolled.
- If a student completes a successful techcheck at the beginning of the semester but later in the semester hinders the class or is unable to perform course requirements because of technical issues, the professor may refer the student to Campus Technology. Campus Technology will troubleshoot any issues, conduct trainings as necessary, and provide a report to both the professor and director of Campus Technology. If the issues persist, it is the professor’s decision to allow the student to remain enrolled in the course or ask for the student to be un-enrolled.
The above recommendations may change at any time due to the release of updates that affect support and compatibility, which are outside the control of Southwestern.
For more information please contact Campus Technology by emailing CampusTechnology@swbts.edu or calling (817) 921-8555.