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If you are taking online courses at UAB, you will need to meet certain technical requirements to be able to access course materials and participate in the courses. If you have questions about these requirements or need additional assistance, please contact us using our online information request form or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Basic Software/Hardware

You will need to have access to the following software/hardware:

  • Computer
  • Speakers
  • Internet Connection

Technical requirements for individual courses vary. See the course syllabus for additional technical requirements. See UAB IT Software and Subscription Solutions for any downloads you may need.


Basic Technical Skills

UAB student works on a computer

Online courses are not difficult to access or participate in, but do require you to be able to:

  • Use a keyboard and mouse
  • Save, open, and edit various file types
  • Open, send, reply, and attach and open attachments to email messages
  • Upload and download files from and to your computer and the Internet
  • Navigate the Internet
  • Navigate the Canvas course environment
  • Utilize various technologies
  • Create online accounts
  • Download and utilize software and/or plug-ins as specified by your instructor


Internet Connection

A high speed internet connection with speeds of 1.5 mbps or higher is recommended for online courses to ensure that you can access all of the course materials and resources, particularly large file sizes as with streaming video. However, technologies used in individual courses vary. See the course syllabus for additional technical requirements.

  • What does Internet speed mean?
    • Some online courses use videos. Viewing is only possible if a certain amount of data is transferred to your computer in a timely manner.
    • The speed that the data can be sent to you is called your "Internet speed". YouTube and most other videos are encoded with at least a 256Kbps (kilobits per second) rate/speed.
  • Approximate speeds of the common types of Internet Service Providers:
    • Dial-up internet - 56 bps (from phone company)
    • DSL internet - 768 kbps+ (from phone company)
    • Cable internet - 1,000-10,000+ kbps (from cable company)
    • Dial-up connections cannot retrieve the data fast enough causing video to frequently pause to let more data arrive. DSL and Cable connections are more than adequate to watch most online videos.
  • How can I determine my current Internet speed?
    • Visit www.bandwidthplace.com.
    • Write down your Download and Upload speeds after you complete the test.
    • This will aid technical support in assisting you with technical issues you may experience.


Canvas Computer Requirements

UAB uses Canvas, a learning management system, to deliver its online courses. The following are some specific requirements needed to access Canvas. Please note: Additional technical requirements may be required for some courses.


What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas?

This is a list of basic computer system requirements to use Canvas. It is always recommended to use the most up-to-date versions and better connections. Canvas will still run with the minimum specifications, but you may experience slower loading times. Find out more about Computer Specifications.


Which browsers does Canvas support?

Because it's built using web standards, Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser.

Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plug-in. Find out more about Supported Browsers.


Required Components

  • Flash: Flash is required in several places in Canvas: media recording/streaming and viewing as well as uploading files to a course or an assignment. Other than these features, Flash is not required to use most areas of Canvas. Install Flash Player in Five Easy Steps.
  • Java: The Java plug-in is required for screen sharing in Conferences. Please note that some browsers do not support Java. Otherwise, there are no other browser plug-ins used by Canvas. Verify Java and Find Out-of-Date Versions.
  • Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader software is the free global standard for reliably viewing, printing, and commenting on PDF documents. It's the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all types of PDF content, including forms and multimedia. Go to the Free Reader Download.


Additional Components

  • Zoom: Zoom is an online collaboration platform providing web conferencing, mobile collaboration, instant messaging, and voice authoring. To be prepared, please visit the Zoom webpage.
  • Respondus LockDown Browser: Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing Canvas. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. LockDown Browser System Requirements.

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