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Academic Technology Launchpad: Minimum Tech Requirements

Quick Guide to computer and academic technology resources for students.

Minimum and Recommended Technical Standards for Students

The minimums in this document are meant as a baseline for all students. Some degree programs may have requirements that exceed what is identified below. Such information may be communicated to students through program orientations or other communication methods. You can also contact your program office to ask about specific requirements.

Note: If you are a student with a disability, who uses assistive technology, please contact Disability Resource Services (DRS), with any questions regarding recommendations or requirements at (608) 246-6716 or

Minimum Recommended
Operating System

Windows 8.1 or higher

MacOS 10.10 or higher

Windows 10 (Current release)

MacOS 10.12

Processor Intel Core i3 or equivalent Intel Core i7 or equivalent
Memory 4 GB of RAM 8 GB of RAM
Internet Connection Broadband (high-speed) internet with a consistent minimum speed of 3 Mbps Broadband (high-speed) internet with a consistent minimum speed of 5 Mbps
Internet Browser

Google Chrome (Current release)

Mozilla Firefox (Current release)

Google Chrome (Current release)

Mozilla Firefox (Current release)

Additional Software
  • Adobe Reader DC (Current Release, Windows)
  • Adobe Reader English for Mac Intel (Current release, Mac)
  • VLC (Current release, Windows and Mac)
  • Quicktime (Current release, Mac)
  • Antivirus, such as Windows Defender
Additional Hardware
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Microphone

Note: Most webcams have an integrated microphone. Laptops with built-in webcams are acceptable.

Blackboard Learning Management System

Browser Check

Blackboard Official Browser Support

Blackboard Official Technical Requirements

Operating Systems

Blackboard is designed for computer-based Windows and Macintosh operating systems. It does not support Linux. While Windows 8.1 is a minimum requirement, we strongly recommend upgrading to a more recent version for online learning (Windows 10). 

Mobile Access to Blackboard

Mobile devices can supplement your learning experiences, but because full Blackboard functionality is not available on mobile devices, you cannot rely solely on them to successfully complete courses.

Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is available for current Madison College students, faculty and staff at no cost through our college agreement with Microsoft. For more information:

VDI Software

Zero client, VDI, or cloud computers are available in some campus locations. They look like a typical monitor, keyboard and mouse, but there is no tower or mini-PC attached. You can also access your virtual desktop from off-campus. Off-campus use first requires the setup of multi-factor authentication. For more information:

Horizon VMware information

Multi-factor authentication information


A cross-departmental team contributed to identifying minimum and recommended technical standards for students.

Contributors to this work:  Tegan Frasier Van, Nicholas Prahl, Martha Schwer, Kevin Carini, Mary Jo Black, David Leo, Justin Jahns, Thomas Sornson, Kristine Stevens, Jennifer Kasch, Tina Rettler-Pagel, Donna Marconnet (retired)