Have you been thinking about enrolling in an online school, but wondering what technology tools you’ll need? Good call. – Steve Simmons, Online Contributor


It’s always a smart idea to think about your computer set up before enrolling in an online class. A lot of today’s online classes (including Northpoint’s) require that students view streaming videos and other multimedia, so having the right equipment is essential. Here are some basic computer components that pretty much “cover the bases”.


First, check your computer’s hardware (the actual, physical pieces of your computer). You may want to take a look at these general hardware tips as well as our online learning hardware requirements to make sure that your system will be capable of running the programs necessary.
The great thing about learning at Northpoint is that we give you Google Apps for Education, which is a whole menu of word processing, presentation and collaboration tools for FREE.  We might switch to the very comparable Microsoft Office 365 soon, which gives you the more familiar Microsoft Office suite, but for now we’re sticking with Google!


Our software suggestions lists the other common software programs and also gives some ideas about where to find freeware alternatives (programs that do the same thing but can be downloaded at no cost).


Obviously, you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Having a DSL or cable line installed is usually the best bet since dial-up services tend to have very slow download speeds. If you aren’t able to have a connection at home, check out this handy search tool for places with a high-speed wireless connection.


Finally, be sure that your computer is free of spyware and viruses that could cause crashes and other problems.