Distance Learning requirements

Minimum and recommended specification for equipment

As a distance learner you are reliant on your own computer equipment, network connection to the internet and working environment. Because you are working remotely from the campus you are also going to have manage your own time and sustaining motivation can be a problem. If you are working and if you have family commitments or other domestic obligations, you will have to think about how you manage these. None of these issues are specific or unique to the distance learner, but they can play a significant role in your learning experience. This page provides guidance on these and related considerations.

It is a requirement that you have reliable access to a desktop or laptop computer for the duration of your studies. A device of this sort is essential for reading extended documents online and for writing and submitting assessments.

Computer Specifications

For best performance, it is recommended to use a computer with at least 1GB of RAM. This will ensure that you are able to run the most recent browsers (see below) and is a very low specification. Any computer purchased in the last five years will meet this requirement and many older models will comfortably support it.

If you want to check the specifications of your computer, read this Wikihow guidance.

Browser versions

You should always access Canvas with a computer that supports the most recent browser versions. We recommend Chrome and you can ensure that this browser is fully up to date by following these instructions:

If you want to check that Chrome is up to date follow the browser guidance.

Operating System

Canvas only requires an operating system that can run the latest compatible web browsers. Your computer operating system should be kept up to date with the latest recommended security updates and upgrades:

You can get instructions on how to update all recent versions of the Windows operating system on the Safety Detectives website.

For a Mac you can access instructions on how to update your Operating System and other critical apps on the Apple website.

Internet Speed

Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
It is recommended to have a minimum Internet speed of 512kbps.

Screen Readers

Mobile Apps

You will be able to use mobile devices like tablets and even smartphones to access course materials and even participate in many activities.  This can provide flexibility and help you manage your engagement in academic study around varied commitments, work environments or domestic situations that are dynamic or unpredictable. Mobile devices can be extremely effective when you are participating in live online learning activities and you can download the mobile Teams app for both Android and IOS for free. 

Other software

When you create documents, presentations or other resources that you are required to share with other students or your tutor it is your responsibility to ensure that these are created and published in a compatible format.  The standard is normally the Microsoft office Suite: applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint in other words. If you do not have a license for these applications – once you have registered for your course - you can download the software for free from our intranet.