Technical requirements for online learning

Whether you're studying or researching entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online sessions, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to carry out your work successfully.

We've put together this guide to the technical requirements appropriate for the majority of our courses and research programmes, to make your learning journey as smooth and trouble-free as possible. Please see the detailed hardware requirements section for the minimum and recommended hardware specifications that should enable the majority of our learners to study effectively online.

A small number of our art, design and creative courses have additional requirements. We've also established links with DELL and Academia to offer all ARU students discounted devices to support their studies, which are listed under 'Additional technical specifications'.

Summary minimum requirements

The following are our preferred recommendations, but other hardware, browsers and operating systems will work and are detailed in later sections of this guide.

Standards for all systems

  • Broadband internet connection with a guaranteed minimum download speed of 2 Mbps and upload speed of 1 Mbps, to support group video calling. Check your broadband speed.
  • Web browsers:
    • PC – Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox
    • Mac – Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox
  • A minimum screen size of 1280 x 768 pixels, although a larger screen is recommended for longer periods of study or research work
  • 4GB of local storage available for storing offline content
  • A webcam with a minimum resolution of 720p in order to join in with video-based sessions
  • A microphone and speakers/headphone, in order to join in with video/voice-based sessions.

Options for different computers

Depending upon your choice of computer we have the following as recommended specifications.

  • Microsoft Windows 10, for both laptop and desktop PCs
  • MacOS 10.15.7 or later for Apple Macs or MacBooks
Read more about .

Technical support

Our IT Services team is here to help and support you. The team provides lots of resources as well as technical support and guidance, helping you to access all your ARU applications so that you can study or research online using your PC, laptop or another personal device.

Take a look at their remote work help and guidance, email itsupport@aru.ac.uk or call 01245 684357 (UK) or (+44) 1245 684357 (international). Lines are open from 8am–6pm weekdays (UK local time).

Detailed hardware requirements

Whatever PC, laptop or device that you are using, we recommend the following hardware specifications.

Hardware Minimum Recommended
Operating system

Microsoft Windows 10


Microsoft Windows 10 (version 21HI)


 

Mac OS 10.15.7


Mac OS 11.5.2


Processor
Windows OS: Intel i3 11th Gen, macOS: Intel processor11.6GHz 32-bit processor

 


Windows OS: Intel i5 11th Gen, macOS: Intel processor or Apple M1 chip2GHz


Memory

4GB of RAM


16GB of RAM


Graphics card

intel UHD Graphics


Windows OS: Intel UHD Graphics or dedicated GPU, macOS: Intel UHD Graphics or M1 8-core GPULarger


Monitor resolution

Windows OS: 1280 x 768 screen resolution, macOS: 1280 x 800 screen resolution


Windows OS: 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, macOS: 2560 x 1600 screen resolution


Free space on hard disk

5GB


20GB or higher


Video

Standard laptop camera or USB2.0 webcam with a resolution of 720p


Standard laptop camera or USB2.0 webcam with a resolution of 1080p


Sound input

Internal or external microphone


 


Sound output

Internal or external speakers or headphones


 




Depending upon your subject, you may be using non-standard software or software that requires higher than normal computing power. Details are given in the 'Additional technical specifications' section below.

If you're a current student or researcher, we recommend that you discuss this with your course leader, supervisor or DProf Director/advisor as soon as possible.

Read more about detailed hardware requirements.

Additional technical specifications - creative courses

If you're studying an art, design or creative course, you'll be working with software applications that need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. You may also need some specialist equipment and materials. These are detailed below.

We don't expect you to buy software for the year ahead; this will be provided for you.

Product links are included for clarification of requirements only and do not constitute an endorsement of the product, service or company by ARU. ARU accepts no liability in this regard.

Discounted devices to support your studies

All ARU students are eligible for discounted DELL and Apple devices. 

Find out more:

To access the full range of software applications we suggest the following specification.

Windows

  • 1.6GHz or faster processor with SSE2 support
  • Microsoft Windows 10 (recommended versions 1809, 1903) or Windows 8.1 (Windows 7 not supported); 64-bit versions only (32-bit not supported)
  • 8 GB of RAM (16GB recommended)
  • 5.2 GB of available hard-disk space to install applications; additional 2.4 GB to download all optional content (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
  • 1280 x 800 display resolution (at 100% scale factor)
  • Microsoft DirectX 9 or 10 compatible display driver

Mac

  • 64-bit multicore Intel processor
  • macOS v10.13 through v10.15
  • 8GB of RAM (16GB recommended)
  • 6.5 GB of available hard-disk space to install applications; additional 2.5 GB to download all optional content (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
  • 1280 x 800 display resolution (at 100% scale factor)

Internet broadband speed of 6 mbps minimum, or mobile data dongle of 6 mbps (10mbps recommended).

Course-specific requirements

BSc (Hons) Audio and Music Technology, BA (Hons) Music, BA (Hons) Popular Music

You'll be working with software applications that will need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. To access the full range of applications we suggest the following.

Hardware:

  • Apple Mac: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac (2013 or later)
  • Minimum 4GB RAM
  • Minimum: i3 will limit to simple projects recordings (recommended i5 or i7) 
  • OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later 
  • 256MB of VRAM

System:

  • macOS 10.12 or later
  • Logic Pro X requires 6GB of disk space for a minimum installation or up to 72GB of disk space for the full Sound Library installation. We recommend that you install sound library elements as you need rather than install the full sound library
  • Internet broadband speed of 6 mbps minimum, or mobile data dongle of 6 mbps (10mbps recommended)

You will also need:

  • Audio Interface
  • Microphone; ideally a large diaphragm condenser (see Gear4Music for basic packages/bundles)
  • External hard drive, cloud or premium storage account (such as Dropbox) 1TB minimum
  • Flat response headphones (such as Sennheiser HD280PRO,Sennheiser HD 600, Sennheisser HD 25, AKG K240STUDIO, Sennheiser HD 800 S, Status Audio CB-1, AKG K 701, Sony MDR7506, Audio-Technica ATHM40x)
  • Midi keyboard ideal for playing in compositions

BA (Hons) Computer Games Art and MA Computer Games Development (Art)

You will be working with software applications that will need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. To access the full range of applications we suggest:

  • Windows-based PC or laptop
  • 8GB of RAM minimum
  • Gaming specification graphics card

BA (Hons) Digital Media

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera
  • Micro:Bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey, sensors and other electronics (details to follow)

You may wish to consider:

  • Wacom Drawing Tablet

BA (Hons) Drama, Drama and Film, Drama and English Literature, Performing Arts, Musical Theatre, Writing and Film, Writing and English Literature, MA Creative Writing, MA Publishing

You will be working with software applications that will need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. To access the full range of applications we suggest:

  • Laptop with webcam and microphone
  • 2GB of RAM minimum (4GB recommended)
  • Internet broadband speed of 6 mbps minimum, or mobile data dongle of 6 mbps

You will also need:

  • External hard drive, cloud or premium storage account (such as Dropbox) 1TB minimum

If you're studying Drama (any combination) or BA (Hons) Musical Theatre, you will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

You will also need:

  • ½ scale female mannequin
  • Domestic sewing machine
  • Domestic iron and ironing board
  • Tools: Pattern Master, pattern notcher, tape measure, fabric tailor's shears, paper scissors, fabric snips, seam ripper
  • Materials: box of pins, needles, thread, pattern paper, calico
  • Books: Metric Pattern Cutting for Women by Winifred Aldrich and Sewing for Fashion Designers by Anette Fischer

BA (Hons) Film, BA (Hons) Film and Media, BA (Hons) Media and Communication

You will be working with software applications that will need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. To access the full range of applications we suggest:

  • 64-bit operating system
  • Modern quad-core CPU or higher
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Nvidia AMD or intel GPU with a minimum of 2GB of VRAM (it has to be a dedicated/discreet rather than integrated graphics card)
  • GPU must support versions greater than Open CL 1.2 or CUDA 3.0
  • Internet broadband speed of 6 mbps minimum, or mobile data dongle of 6 mbps (10mbps recommended)

You will also need:

  • Digital stills camera or smartphone with camera
  • External hard drive, cloud or premium storage account (such as Dropbox) 1TB minimum
  • Diary, sketchbook/notebook

BA (Hons) and MA Film and Television Production

You will be working with software applications that will need a higher specification of computer than we would ordinarily recommend. To access the full range of applications we suggest:

  • 64-bit operating system
  • Modern quad-core CPU or higher
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Nvidia AMD or intel GPU with a minimum of 2GB of VRAM (it has to be a dedicated/discreet rather than integrated graphics card)
  • GPU must support versions greater than Open CL 1.2 or CUDA 3.0
  • Internet broadband speed of 6 mbps minimum, or mobile data dongle of 6 mbps (10mbps recommended)

You will also need:

  • Digital stills camera or smartphone with camera
  • External hard drive, cloud or premium storage account (such as Dropbox) 1TB minimum
  • Diary, sketchbook/notebook

BA (Hons) Fine Art

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera
  • Space to work, plastic sheeting to protect your home environment

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera
  • Two external hard drive (each 2TB)
  • Hardback sketchbooks and notebook – one per module.
  • Fine nib black pens and drawing equipment

BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation

To be confirmed.

BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation

You will also need:

  • AV laptop: Recommended is a MacBook Pro 13-inch. Software instructions are on Apple systems, but you can also opt for a Windows system. (Laptop is optional, but would be required if we have to go online due to COVID and long-term recommended for completing projects outside studio hours).
  • A4 LED drawing lightbox
  • 2-hole office puncher
  • A5/A4 WACOM drawing tablet or equivalent
  • WD 1 TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive 1000GB
  • A5/A4 sketchbooks (available at the university)
  • Graphite sticks - selection from B5 to 1H
  • Black fine liner pens (a range, waterproof ink)
  • Mid grey tone marker pen
  • Black ink
  • A range of paintbrushes
  • A4 piece of Perspex
  • Whiteboard pen
  • At least two different colour pencils - Faber-Castell Polychromos or Caran D’Ache
  • Erasers (soft and hard)
  • A colour range of chalk pastels, such as Derwent Academy soft pastels pack of 24
  • Box of willow charcoal
  • Two Bulldog clips
  • Masking tape
  • Fixative or a strong-hold hairspray
  • Plastic A1 folder
  • Pritt Stick
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting board
  • Acrylic paints (you will be instructed in class which colours)
  • Palette knife

BA (Hons) Interior Design

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera or a desk mounted camera
  • Desk lighting
  • Access to a scanner
  • Mark-making equipment, pencils – B6 to H2
  • Sharpie markers variety of colours
  • A2 sketchbooks
  • Scissors, PVA glue, NT cutters and blades, scalpels and blades, steel ruler, A1 self healing cutting matt, scale rulers – 1:25/ 1:50/ 1:10./ 1:2/
  • Watercolour sets
  • Grey card
  • Masking tape
  • Roll of tracing paper – lightweight
  • A1 sheets of trace
  • A1 pads of lightweight layout paper
  • Adjustable set square

BA (Hons) Photography

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera
  • DSLR with tripod
  • External hard drive
  • Basic scanner and printer

You may wish to consider:

  • Computer mouse

MA Children’s Book Illustration

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera anner
  • Materials and basic printing equipment (aligned to individual’s process preference)

MA Fine Art and MA Printmaking

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera 
  • Space to work, plastic sheeting to protect your home environment 
  • Access to a printer
  • Materials/equipment for printmaking, for example wood/lino/acrylic sheet – lino/wood cut tools; drills for drypoint; kitchen sink litho; good standard all-purpose print paper/fabriano roll

You may wish to consider:

  • Digital camera/video camera
  • Camera tripod

MA Graphic Design and Typography

You will also need:

  • Smartphone with camera
  • Basic scanner and printer
Read more about additional technical specifications - creative courses.

Detailed internet connection requirements

Your learning or research content will consist of a mixture of media-rich webpages, audio-visual content and documents and files that you can download. You will need to interact with your tutors and fellow students online at different times, either in ‘real-time’ or by recording and uploading materials for later viewing.

A broadband internet connection, operating with a consistent download speed of at least 2 Mbps and upload speed of no less than 1 Mbps will provide an acceptable user experience in normal circumstances. e.g. when downloading/uploading files or when viewing streaming videos and listening to pre-recorded audio.

Faster broadband speeds are recommended for video conferencing and transferring large media files. A minimum of 4 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps upload speed are recommended.

Our Learning Management System (LMS) will operate at lower speeds, but some of our more media-rich resources may run more slowly, which may reduce the quality of your overall learning experience.

Checking your internet speed

Check your internet speed. We recommend that you repeat the test several times, changing the location of the test server, in order to accurately measure the capabilities of your internet connection.

Read more about detailed internet connection requirements.

Your web browser

Most web content is authored in HTML. For the best browsing experience, you'll need a web browser that is compatible with HTML version 5 (HTML5). You can check the compatibility score of your chosen web browser at arul.ink/htmltest.

We recommend using Google Chrome as your preferred web client. It is a well-supported HTML5 compliant browser that has been compatibility tested against our Learning Management System. Chrome is available for all common types of computer, laptop and tablet.

Supported web browsers

Our currently supported web browsers are:

  • Google Chrome: versions 36+ as a minimum, version 81+ recommended
  • Microsoft Edge: versions 1+ as a minimum, version 81+ recommended
  • Firefox: versions 31+ as a minimum, version 76+ recommended

Choosing the right browser

Most web content is authored in a language called HTML. For the best browsing experience, you will need a web browser that is compatible with HTML version 5 (HTML5).

Check the compatibility score of your chosen web browser. The site includes a comparison chart of common browsers and feature lists for previous browser versions.

You should always use a recent version of your preferred web browser and upgrade soon after a new version becomes available. More information on supported web browsers.

Read more about your web browser.

Canvas - your Learning Management System (LMS)

Our Learning Management System (LMS) is an online environment where you will engage in your studies, access your course materials and interact with your tutors and fellow students. It is provided by Instructure/Canvas, a leading online-learning organisation that partners with universities across the world to deliver a premium online learning experience to millions of students every year.

Our LMS is compatible with a wide variety of web browsers for desktop and laptop computers. We recommend that you use one of the following:

  • Google Chrome: versions 36+ as a minimum, version 81+ recommended
  • Microsoft Edge: versions 1+ as a minimum, version 81+ recommended
  • Firefox: versions 31+ as a minimum, version 76+ recommended

Instructure/Canvas products are optimised for desktop and laptop displays. Limited support is available for tablets such as the Apple iPad and some Android devices, including:

  • Google Chrome: latest version for Android and Apple iOS
  • Firefox: latest version for Android
  • Safari latest version for Apple iOS

Your learning content is accessible anywhere through mobile devices but is not designed specifically for mobile learning. In some cases your browsing experience may be limited because some features are unavailable for both Android and iOS. You may prefer to download Canvas Student, the Instructure/Canvas mobile app, which is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

You can also access Canvas directly via ARU’s mobile app or visiting https://canvas.anglia.ac.uk.

Accessing Canvas

Your learning content

Your learning content is designed to be delivered online via Canvas, with streaming presentations, multimedia resources and online activities. There may be some material for you to download and access offline and you may need to upload files for some activities or assignment tasks.

Accessibility on Canvas

Our content is designed to be compliant with the Government’s accessibility regulations, ensuring an inclusive learning experience for all our learners and researchers. If you use assistive software you'll be fully supported. We are also implementing subtitles or creating transcripts for audio-visual content.

Similarly, Instructure’s commitment to ensuring that Canvas is accessible for all users is detailed in their accessibility statement.

Downloading the ARU App, Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and our remote desktop

ARU App

Want access to your emails, timetable, Canvas, Student Engagement Dashboard, maps and much more? Our handy app will give you all the information you need to make yourself at home here. You can download it on your smartphone and tablet, so you always have access.

Microsoft Teams

To get ready for your course you’ll need to make sure you have access to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is where you can chat and share files, as well as initiate and participate in video and audio calls.

You may be expected to interact with your lecturers and classmates using Microsoft Teams, so it’s really important that you have access to Teams for the start of your course.

The app can be downloaded to your personal PC/Laptop or to your mobile device.

Office 365

If you don't already have access to Office 365 applications, you can download a copy of Office 365 on up to five personal devices. The software download is free and access lasts for the duration of your studies at ARU. It’s important to note that downloading Office 365 will overwrite all previously purchased and installed copies of Office on your device.

Remote desktop

Your student desktop provides access to ARU software applications, including Office 365. You can download our remote desktop app which means you can access your student desktop from home, on your personal PC or laptop.

Read more about downloading the aru app, microsoft teams, office 365 and our remote desktop.