Technology Requirements

In order to participate in a distance education program or course, you are required to have a laptop computer and you should be familiar with its basic operation. Your computer will be the primary conduit for information exchange and communication for your online courses, and the primary tool with which you will perform your academic tasks. The reliability and performance of your computer will be a significant factor in the quality of your distance education experience and will contribute to the success of your efforts.

Your computer must be reliable. Either a PC or a Mac can be used. While there is a mobile app for Canvas, and while the ECU website supports mobile devices, you will not be able to achieve success in your program using only a smartphone or a tablet/iPad. Also, if you have an older computer, or if your computer is experiencing operating problems and you cannot have it repaired to a reliable level of operability, we strongly encourage you to purchase a new computer. And with a new computer, we recommend that you purchase a warranty for the duration of your academic program; and one which will provide either immediate technical assistance or a replacement computer while yours is being repaired.

You will also want to acquire a headset (computers headphones with attached microphone). In many of our online courses, you will view videos or presentations online, and headphones are the optimal way to listen. If your laptop does not have a webcam, you will need to purchase an additional webcam for online testing and other class assignments. Many of our courses also have synchronous, virtual classroom sessions in which you will interact with your instructor and classmates in real time. A computer headset with attached microphone and webcam is the best way to do this. Both headsets and webcams are affordable and readily available from multiple vendors.


All enrolled ECU students are eligible for free Microsoft products! Products can be instantly downloaded. For more information:

We also recommend you keep your computer protected with reliable anti-virus software such as Symantec, or Kaspersky. Symantec Endpoint Protection is available free of charge to ECU students who are enrolled in classes. It can be downloaded at:


As a student you will have an ECU email account. All official communication with your instructor will be performed using your ECU email account. You will be required to learn how to use the ECU email system. View more information on ECU student email

Web Browsers

You should have multiple browsers installed on your computer. At times, when university web-based DE tools such as Blackboard, Canvas or Webex roll out updates, or when a browser applies a new security setting, there might initially be an issue of one of these web-based applications working with one or the other of the browsers. It’s a good idea to have several browsers, so that if one doesn’t work, you can switch to the other. PC users should have Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox, and Chrome. Mac users should have Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

Additional Information on Technology at ECU

View more information related to computing resources at ECU