Distance / Online Learning
Computer Requirements for Online Learning

Your computer and your internet connection are the two most important components of a rewarding online experience. We therefore want to make certain that you have all the necessary resources available to successfully complete your course work.

Please review the information presented below to make certain that you possess the necessary components.

Minimum Recommended Computer Settings


  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Available Hard Drive Space: 1 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 7, 8 or 10


  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Available Hard Drive Space: 1 GB
  • Operating System: 10.7 or better

Note: Apple OS X with Microsoft Office will work for many of our courses, but IT Student Help Desk support is very limited.

Other operating systems may work, but are completely unsupported by the IT Help Desk.

Recommended Software


  • Office Suite: MS Office 2010 or newer
  • Browser: The most recent version of the following: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge
  • Plug-Ins: The most recent version of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Java


Note: You will be able to access much of the online course content with an older computer and software, but we cannot guarantee that you will be able to access all course content or participate in all course activities.

Some courses may require special computer or software (example:  headset with microphone for language courses).  Please check before registering.

MS Office 365 is available as a free to all students enrolled in programs collecting the student technology fee.

Continuing Education and Contract Training students may use Open Office or Google Docs, but must submit their assignments as PDFs. The COTROnline Help Desk is available if help is required.

Internet Requirements

  • A minimum download speed of 1.5 Mbps is the minimum supported,  which is commonly the speed associated with a basic DSL or a cellular/satellite connection.
  • A faster connection, such as cable or fibre-optic service, will further enhance your online experience. A Wi-Fi connection is generally acceptable, but is dependent upon one of the two services mentioned above. 
  • While student may register for courses with internet download speeds below 1.5 Mbps, the college assumes no liability for the quality of the student experience.

Mobile Devices

  • Students may use a tablet or smartphone to access and participate in much of an online course, but a laptop or a desktop computer will be required for some components of the online course.
  • Mobile devices and their operating systems are not supported by the IT Student Help Desk.

Minimum Computer Skills

Students need to be able to

  • Copy and paste
  • Locate and upload a file
  • Use a web browser and word processor
  • Send and receive emails