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Open Education Unit

Technology and Skills Requirements

Open Education understands that students will have varying degrees of technical experience and ability when they begin their studies. However, due to the key role technology plays in Open Education students’ studies all students must be able to engage with relevant technologies to a minimum level. It is expected that students will have a computer competency level equivalent to the European Computer Driving Licence (EDCL) (http://www.ecdl.com/). That is, students should be familiar with using email, browsing the Internet, and using the word processing package Microsoft Word.

In addition, students must have regular access to a good quality Computer (loaded with Microsoft Office) and a broadband Internet connection. The web browser a student uses must be able to play Macromedia Flash, Shockwave, Java and the Adobe Acrobat PDF file reader. (These internet browser plug-ins are freely available.)

Students with Apple-Mac computers may encounter specific issues as learning materials and software are typically designed on/for the Windows operating system. Where students are provided with software by Open Education, for example SPSS, it will be for Windows Computers. Apple-Mac versions of software will not be provided.

The reason that students must have a regular access to a computer with broadband is that substantial use is made of online support via the virtual learning environment Moodle, with some learning resources only being available from that source. Students are required to access the online journal databases available through the DCU library. Students should also be able to attend ‘live’ virtual classrooms. In order to facilitate online communication in ‘live’ virtual classrooms students should have a high quality headset/microphone (built in microphones and speakers in laptops or desktops cannot be used as they give rise to sound problems) and a webcam is also desirable.

Please note that technical requirements will change over time to match developments in computing and in how learning is facilitated on online distance education courses. Any changes in technical requirements will be set out before the beginning of each academic year.

Where students encounter computing issues/problems, DCU’s Information Systems and Services department (http://www4.dcu.ie/iss/index.shtml) maintain a Service Desk to help students find solutions to those issues/problems.