Minimum System Requirements
|Note:The minimum system requirements listed below refer to the necessary hardware and software needed to access Online Learning systems for the vast majority of courses we offer. However, students who are taking courses in computer related studies should contact the Instructor via Online Learning for possible additional requirements.
|A Microsoft Windows based Personal Computer (PC) including:
- 1.3 GHz Processor
- 512 MB RAM
- 400 MB available hard drive space
- Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista or Windows 7
- Internet connection (28.8 K modem or higher)
- Minimum screen resolution of 800 x 600 (1024 x 768 preferred), 65,000 colours or higher
- 16 Bit sound card and speakers (or headphones)
A. Computer Difficulties
Technical Support: Troubleshooting with the Computers
B. Internet Access Difficulties
People will be able to access and utilize the Virtual Campus from any computer which has the capability of connecting to the Internet. This access may take several forms. If learners have their own personal computer at Internet Service Provider (ISP) at home, they may access their courses from home. However, people are NOT required to have their own computer, and other computer access mechanisms include Nova Scotia Community College Computer Labs, Satellite Multimedia Virtual Campus sites as well as local Community Access Sites. Individuals using Campus computer labs may need to be set up with computer network accounts to be able to utilize the computer.
A. Computer Difficulties
Taking courses through the Virtual Campus inevitably means that you will need to use the computer. Computer challenges and difficulties are a part of life. Computers are machines and machines do break down from time to time. Computer challenges at the campus level should be handled by the local campus Computer Technicians, Staff and Information Technology Professionals. Off campus students can call their local host campus for technical support or may call the Virtual Campus office for technical support. People may call the local campus number, or call the same number collect if long distance charges apply. It is important to remember that computers are just machines: they do break and they do crash. Knowing what each part is and how they work together help to prepare you for when things do go wrong. Here is a general list of things to go through and check if things start to go wrong.
1. Is everything plugged in?
It sounds basic, but sometimes connections get jostled and moved, so just double check to ensure that all the cables, power plugs, and other connections are planted soundly in their proper ports.
2. Is there a power supply?
Ensure that the machine is getting power. If all plugs are plugged into a central power bar or power strip, ensure that the bar or strip is turned on.
3. Are all the individual components turned on?
Ensure that all of the individual pieces of the computer (many of which have their own power switch) are turned on.
4. Some of the error messages you may receive might include:
"Not enough memory."
You have told your computer to do too many things and it has run out of temporary storage space.
"Insufficient disk space."
You have run out of permanent storage space on your hard drive.
"Your program has performed an illegal operation."
The software has done something that has mixed it up and now it needs to shut down.
"Cannot find file or one of its components."
One of the files needed by the program has been moved/deleted and the program cannot work.
Electrical surges can rush through your computer even when the power is turned off. Be aware of the damage that even minor fluctuations in power sources can sometimes cause. Try to ensure that your computer has a surge protector which helps to balance the flow of power from the outlet to the computer.
Every now and then your computer will lock and you won't be able to do anything. This can happen even when you've done nothing wrong. To rectify the situation you can hold down the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys at the same time. The computer will give you the opportunity to end the task you were using before the computer locked up. Once you end this task you can usually resume from where you left off. Be advised though, this sequence will wipe out all data that hasn't been saved to a disk. If you hold down Ctrl, Alt and Delete three immediately successive times it will restart your computer from scratch. The reset button (or On/Off switch) is a panic button, but only use it when nothing else works. When you press the button you are destroying all the work you haven't saved during the day.
Virtual Campus satellite computer stations are housed in different physical locations, depending on the Campus location. At some campuses, the Virtual Campus satellite site is located in a large open access computer lab, at other campuses, the satellite site is located in a distinct distance education room. If the computer seems to be down for the count and you cannot get any response of any sort even from the system and you cannot get it even started again, we do have an emergency system in place whereby this handbook contains a copy of an EMERGENCY CD-ROM. YOUR Campus has a copy of a CD-ROM that we have produced that contains all of the software and operating systems required for the computer. In a worst case scenario, the computer technician can be contacted concerning using the emergency CD-ROM to re-install the systems and get the Virtual Campus terminal operational again. Should the printer at this Virtual Campus satellite site run out of ink, replacement toner cartridges will be available from the computer technician at the campus. Should the computer satellite site run out of paper, replacement packages of copy paper can be obtained from the administrative offices of the campus.
B. Internet Access Difficulties
What to do if you have trouble connecting to The Virtual Campus:
If you have trouble connecting to the Virtual Campus with your browser, it's often difficult to tell where the problem lies. Depending on the symptoms, the problem could be our campus servers, somewhere in the Internet between the Virtual Campus and your Internet service provider, at your ISP, or even in your browser configuration.
If you have persistent problems connecting to the Virtual Campus, you can get help from the campus staff by going to the Staff Room and emailing one of the staff or sending an email to . When you write, be sure to tell us:
- Your correct email address
- Your user ID
- What system you're using (Windows, Macintosh, etc.)
- What browser you're using (including version number)
- How you're connecting to the Web (personal dialup connection, network connection, etc.)
- The date and time the problem occurred
- The page you were trying to go to when the problem occurred
To save time, however, please check the common problems and solutions listed below before you write:
Problem 1: If you can reach the Online Learning main page (http://onlinelearning.nscc.ca) or Virtual Campus main page (http://apprenticeship.nscc.ca) but get only a blank page when trying to go to some other locations:
Problem 2: If you can reach the Virtual Campus main page (http://apprenticeship.nscc.ca) or the Online Learning main page (http://onlinelearning.nscc.ca) but get the message "Document contains no data" when trying to go to some other locations:
Possible Solution: Use your browser's Reload command to reload the page. Try this at least twice, and make sure your browser is reloading the page from the Virtual Campus site rather than from the cache on your disk.
Problem 3: If your browser times out when trying to connect to some part of the Virtual Campus, but you have no trouble connecting to other locations on the Web:
Possible Solution: There may be a problem in the network between your Internet service provider and the Virtual Campus, or the Virtual Campus servers may be down or overloaded (this does not happen very often, but it does happen, remember these are only machines). Try connecting again in a few minutes.
Problem 4: If you can connect to your Internet service provider but are unable to connect to any location on the Web:
Possible Solution: Check with your Internet service provider to see if they know of a current problem.
Problem 5: If you try to connect to the Virtual Campus but get the message "The server does not have a DNS entry:"
Possible Solution: First make sure that the URL you entered for the Virtual Campus (http://apprenticeship.nscc.ca) or Online Learning (http://onlinelearning.nscc.ca) is correct. If it is, then ask your Internet service provider if there's a problem with the domain name server. Check to make sure that the name server information for your provider is entered correctly in your system.
The most important thing to remember is to keep trying! Sometimes computers can be stubborn and we just have to prove ourselves to be more patient and cunning than the machines.
Remember that technical support comes in a number of different shapes and sizes. Look around yourself and utilize the expertise of those people around you. You never know who might be able to lend a hand. As well, there is always lots of access to help and assistance through the various programs and their associated help files. Do not be afraid to utilize this information: it may have just the answer for which you were searching.