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Students are required to have regular, reliable access to a computer with a stable broadband Internet connection. The following minimum hardware and software requirements are necessary in order to access an online class through Three Rivers’ current version of Blackboard. Individual instructors may have additional requirements for specific classes. Be sure to check your course syllabus and discuss technology needs with your instructor as early in the class as possible.

System Requirements

If you plan to buy a new computer or plan to use an existing computer to campus, we recommend that it meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:


PC (Windows)MacintoshChromebooks
Operating System
  • Windows 10, or newer
  • Mac OS 10.15 or higher with security updates
  • While some students have had success using Chrome OS on Chromebooks, many features are not supported. Therefore, they are not recommended.
ProcessorIntel Core i3 or equivalentIntel Core i3
Memory8GB of RAM4 GB of RAM or higher
Hard Drive250+ GB250+ GB
Internet Connection
  • Built-in ethernet adapter
  • Built-in wireless adapter
  • Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a consistent minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps.
  • Built-in ethernet adapter
  • Built-in wireless adapter
  • Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a consistent minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps.

Internet Browser
  • Google Chrome, Firefox (latest version)
  • Google Chrome, Firefox (latest version)

JavaThe most up to date version of Java is required to use Blackboard.
Adobe Flash PlayerFlash is required to play some videos within the Blackboard system. You can download Flash from the Adobe website.

Free Use of Campus Computers

All Three Rivers networked computers are configured to use Blackboard and will have most software needed to complete online coursework. If additional software is needed on a Three Rivers lab computer, please contact the instructor or facilitator of the lab for assistance.

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Operating Systems

Blackboard was designed to work on Windows and Macintosh-based operating systems. While the minimum allowed Windows operating system is Windows 10, students may still have success using Windows 7 or 8, but are strongly advised to use a newer operating system such as Windows 10 for Windows machines. Windows 8 is compatible with Blackboard when using your browser through Desktop Mode.

While some students have had success using Chrome OS on Chromebooks, many features are not supported. Therefore, they are not recommended.

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Internet Connections

To operate efficiently, a minimum bandwidth internet connection (cable modem, DSL, satellite broadband, T1, etc.) of at least 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) is recommended for taking online tests. Although students may have success accessing Blackboard courses from a mobile network (3G, 4G, LTE, or 5G network) provider, Three Rivers does not recommend taking Blackboard tests on a mobile network. A direct ethernet cable connection is best.

ALTERNATIVE INTERNET SOURCE:

If your speed is slower than 1.5 MBps, you may need to find an alternative way to access the Internet either by finding a different Internet service provider or using the wireless connection at a public facility (i.e. Three Rivers campus or an external location).


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Internet Browser

Desktop Browser*PC VersionMac Version
FirefoxDownloadDownload
ChromeDownloadDownload
SafariUnsupportedDownload
EdgeDownloadDownload
Internet ExplorerUnsupportedUnsupported
*Mobile app versions of these browsers are not supported at this time. Although users may have success using them, the Office of Distance Learning does not recommend using them to access our version of Blackboard


We strongly recommend Blackboard students use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome for Windows or Mac operating systems as they are the most compatible with our current Blackboard system.

For a couple of reasons, it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your system. First, you always want a backup plan. You don’t want to waste time troubleshooting your browser or downloading a new browser if you are trying to perform time-sensitive tasks in Blackboard. When you have a browser-related issue, having multiple browsers installed allows you to quickly switch between them.

Second, it can aid in ruling out browser-related issues. If you are having problems in the first browser but a different browser is working correctly, then there is an issue with the first browser or its settings. If multiple browsers are having the same problem, then it is likely either related to Blackboard or a system issue.

Technologies Not Supported

  • Chromebooks or ChromeOS - Any version
  • Internet Explorer - Any Version
  • Firefox - 56 and under
  • Chrome - 63 and under
  • Edge - 44 and under
  • Safari - 11 and under and any version on Windows
  • Windows XP or Vista, 32 or 64-bit versions
  • Mac OSX 10.3 through 10.11
  • Java 5, 6, or 7, although they may continue to work

Additional Software and Plugins

Most course materials you will access through Blackboard will be web pages, Adobe Acrobat files, or Microsoft documents. Instructors may decide however to upload content in a variety of formats. Below is a list of common file types that can be used in Blackboard. The software needed to view these files and links to downloadable versions of the software are provided if available.

Application DownloadsFile ExtensionsPCMac
Adobe Acrobat Reader.pdfDownloadDownload
Adobe Flash PlayerNeeded for BlackboardDownloadDownload
JavaNeeded for BlackboardDownloadDownload
Microsoft Office.doc • .docx • .ppt • .pptx • .xls • .xlsx • .rtf • .txtAvailable through the Office 365 PortalAvailable through the  Office 365 Portal

Once you log into your Three Rivers Office 365 Portal, click the Install Office button to install Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your personal machine.


Video PlayersCommon File ExtensionsPCMac
Media Player Classic (optional).avi • .vlc • .wmv • .qt • .flv •  etc.DownloadN/A
VLC Media Player.avi • .vlc • .wmv • .qt • .flv •  etc.DownloadDownload


Additional SoftwarePCMac
Windows DefenderBuilt-inN/A
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Free Edition)DownloadDownload


Mobile Microsoft Office AppsiOSAndroid
WordDownloadDownload
ExcelDownloadDownload
PowerPointDownloadDownload
OneNoteDownloadDownload
OneDriveDownloadDownload
OutlookDownloadDownload
Office LensDownloadDownload
StreamDownloadDownload


Remember: These are minimum requirements. Your instructor may have additional requirements in order to achieve the learning objectives of your class.






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