The following minimum hardware and software requirements are necessary in order to access an online class through SPC’s 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

  Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 7 or higher
Mac OSX 10.8 or higher
Windows 10
Mac OS 10.12
Processor 1 GHz processor 2 GHz or faster processor
Memory 512 MB of RAM 2 GB of RAM or higher
Monitor Resolution 1024 x 768 1024 x 768 or higher
Free Hard Disk Space 5 GB of free disk space 20 GB or higher of free space
Internet Connection Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a consistent minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps. Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a speed of 4 Mbps or higher
Internet Browser** Respondus Lockdown Browser and IE11, Microsoft Edge, Safari , Chrome or Firefox Respondus Lockdown Browser and Firefox
Macromedia Flash Player Flash may be required to play videos within the Blackboard system. You can download Flash from the Adobe website.


Students are required to have regular, reliable access to a computer with a stable broadband Internet connection.

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

If your computer is publicly accessed off campus or is loaned to you, you may be prohibited from downloading files or software.

Important Note:

For more information about using mobile devices with Blackboard, please visit the Blackboard Mobile section of the website.

Operating System

Blackboard was designed to work on Windows and Macintosh based systems. At this time, Linux is not a supported operating system with Blackboard.

Please note, while the minimum allowed Windows operating system is Windows 7, students are strongly advised to use a newer operating system for Windows machines (i.e. Windows 8 or 10).


Processor Speed

The processor (or CPU) is the brain of your computer. Much like a human brain, it tells the computer what to do and when to do it. The speed of your processor is determined by how many commands it can perform in a given second and is measured in hertz (Hz). The higher your processing speed, the faster your computer is able to execute commands.

Because the Blackboard is an interactive, multi-media environment (videos, slideshows, exams, etc.), you need at least a 1 GHz (1 GHz = 1,000,000,000 Hz) processor to handle these operations. Most new computers come with at least 2 GHz installed out of the box.



Your computer’s memory is the temporary storage place for commands and information. When your computer is processing information, part of that data is stored in the memory to be accessed later. This allows the computer to quickly retrieve that information which helps your computer run faster.

When your memory gets filled up, your computer will begin storing this temporary information in a file on your hard drive. When the computer has to access this temporary data from the hard drive, it can slow down your system because it is faster for your computer to read this information from memory than to read it from the hard drive. The more RAM (random-access memory) you have, the faster your computer can access this temporary information.


Internet Connection

To function properly, Blackboard requires a high-speed Internet connection (cable modem, DSL, satellite broadband, T1, etc.). The minimum Internet connection speed to access Blackboard is a consistent 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) or higher. You can check your speed settings using the speed test on this website.

Important Note:

Consistent means that your connection does not fall below 1.5 Mbps during regular usage. 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. the SPC campus).


Internet Browser

Some exams require that you use the Respondus Lockdown Browser. This browser is only used for exam purposes. Please visit our Lockdown Browser Page for more information about this browser and download instructions.

The first step to see if your computer is set up for Blackboard is to check your browser compatibility. We strongly recommend Blackboard students use the latest version of Mozilla Firefoxfor Windows or Mac because it is the most compatible with our current Blackboard system.


Browser Downloads PC Mac
Respondus Lockdown Browser Download Download
Firefox Download Download
Google Chrome Download Download
Safari Download Download
Internet Explorer Download n/a


Generally, it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your system for a couple of reasons. First, you always want a plan B. If you are trying to perform time sensitive tasks in Blackboard, you don’t want to waste time troubleshooting your browser or downloading a new browser. Having multiple browsers already installed allows you to quickly switch to a different browser when you have a browser related issue.

Second, it helps to rule out browser related issues. If you are having problems in one browser and not another, then you know there is something going on with your browser or its settings. If you are having the same problem in multiple browsers, then you’ll know that it is either a system issue or something related to Blackboard.

Important Note:

We do NOT recommend that students use Internet Explorer with Blackboard due to the security and other features that interact negatively with the system. If you need assistance with your Internet browser, please visit our Browser Support page for tips on troubleshooting common browser problems.



Java is a programming language and software platform that is required for certain features of Blackboard to function properly. Some of the important features of Blackboard which use Java include assessments, surveys, discussions, file uploading, and downloading.

Additional Software and Plug-ins

Most of the materials you will be accessing in Blackboard will consist of web pages, Microsoft documents or Adobe Acrobat files. However, instructors may choose to upload content in a variety of formats. Below you will find a list of common file types that may be used in Blackboard. The software required to view these files is given and links to downloadable versions of the software have been provided if available.

Application Downloads File Extensions PC Mac
WinZip .zip • .rar • etc. Download n/a
WinRAR .rar • .zip • etc. Download Download
Adobe Acrobat Reader .pdf Download Download
Open Office .doc • .docx 
.ppt • .pptx 
.xls • .xlsx 
.rtf • .txt
Download Download
Microsoft Office .doc • .docx 
.ppt • .pptx 
.xls • .xlsx 
.rtf • .txt
Download Download
Microsoft Office Viewers
Word Viewer .doc • .docx Download n/a
PowerPoint Viewer .ppt • .pptx Download n/a
Excel Viewer .xls • .xlsx Download n/a


Video Players Common File Extensions PC Mac
Macromedia Shockwave Player .fla • .swa • .swf Download Download
QuickTime .mov • .qt Download Download
Media Player Classic .avi • .vlc • .wmv Download n/a
VLC Media Player .avi • .vlc • .wmv Download Download


Additional Software PC Mac
Microsoft Security Essentials Download n/a
Ad-Aware Spyware Removal Download n/a
SpyBot Search and Destroy Download n/a


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

Students with Disabilities

It is the policy of the South Plains College to create inclusive learning environments. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of any course that results in barriers to your inclusion or to accurate assessment of achievement-such as time-limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos-please notify the instructor as soon as possible.

For information about SPC’s disability support services, please contact the Disability Resource Center at 501-569-3143.