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College of Information and Communications

Distributed Learning

Technology Requirements

All students are required to have daily access, preferably at home, to the Internet and to a computer which can be used at any time, controlled and configured as required for assignments, access to resources, and for communication.

Internet connectivity through work or other computers that are not under the student's personal control frequently present problems. Firewalls, software download policies, and other security precautions can make access to required software (e.g., the University's course management system Blackboard, Adobe Connect), access to library and other online resources, software downloads, and communication required for course participation, impossible. This is often the case in school settings.

The following information is subject to review and change without notice.

SLIS Computer Requirements

Core courses can be completed using either a Windows or Apple (Mac) computer. Some electives may require the use of a Windows platform software for specific assignments and projects. When an elective requires the use of a Windows platform software, it should be made clear in advance through the course syllabus. Consult your instructor at the beginning of the semester to see if any special software is required for your class.

Recommended configuration: 8 GB RAM for Windows 7.0, Windows 8 or Windows 10.

Recommended configuration: at least 6GB RAM (8GB preferred) for Apple Computer and System 10.10.5 or higher operating system.

Additional Hardware Requirements

  • Access to a scanner
  • Access to a DVD player
  • Access to microphone and webcam
  • Some elective courses may require access to additional specific hardware.

Software Requirements

  • Microsoft Office 2013, 2016 or Office 365 (see information below on obtaining Office 365 for USC students)
  • Web Browsers: PC - Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox, Chrome; MAC - Safari, Firefox, Chrome.
  • Flash Player Plugin (download) - Get the most current from
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 10.0 or higher.
  • Other software may be required by certain elective courses and should be included in course syllabi.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available for free to all students. Students have access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and much more. You can install Office 365 on up to five compatible PCs and Macs, plus five tablets (including iPad). All work can be saved online in OneDrive so it can be accessed no matter which device is being used. You can use this Office 365 subscription for as long as you are a student at the University of South Carolina. Download Office 365»
  • Virus software is recommended for Windows and Mac users and for all computers that connect to the USC wi-fi service on campus. Windows users can download Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows; Mac users can download the free Sophos from; click on "Purchasing Software".

More University Electronic Resources for students»

Internet And Email Requirements

  • You will need daily access to an internet email account, preferably through a high-speed connection. It is important to use your University-issued email address as SLIS instructors and the University use USC email accounts to communicate with students and through Blackboard.
  • Broadband access may be necessary for viewing and or participating in some classes; check your syllabus.
  • Students are responsible for configuring their email programs for the proper submission of assignments and class communication.
  • Get Email assistance from University Technology Services»