Thoughtvectors computer specs

Prepping for the Tech Needs of this Course:

  • You will need a modern computer with consistent Internet access; you will need to access the internet and to check your email every single day during this course.
  • Update Java, Flash, Adobe Reader, Quicktime and any Internet browser that you will be using (this takes only a few minutes and will save you much frustration down the road).
    • To update on a MAC, go to the apple in the top left corner and click “software update”
    •  To update on a PC, there is usually an update icon in your tray which is usually located on the bottom right hand corner
  • You must have full-time access to a webcam and be able to record video
    • To record video on a MAC, you can simply use PhotoBooth to do more than just take a picture by choosing “take a movie clip.”
    • You can also record on your smartphone
    • To record on a PC, if you do not already have your own system in place, I suggest downloading Debut Video Capture Software (the free version) at This software is self-explanatory and very simple to use.
    • If you have a webcam, you can also record directly to YouTube (account necessary). You can also do some simple editing there. Note that you can set your video to “private” or “unlisted” until you’re ready to go public.
    • iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are useful video editing tools, though WMM doesn’t export to .mp4, so you’ll need conversion software. For an online editing environment you might find useful, check out
  • You must be able to record audio at a satisfactory volume. (Most computers have internal microphones. If you can record video, you can probably record audio, but please double check.) If you record directly to YouTube, there are handy indicators there to help you set audio levels.
  • You must sign up for Google Plus and download what you need to use Google Hangout  (if you’re at VCU, you already have a Google account through the university).
  • You must check your email at least once, and preferably twice or more, every single day.

Important Note: Because you have registered for an online course, we assume that you have basic computer skills that will allow you to function and succeed in this environment. While we may be able to help you with minor technological issues, you will likely need to do some self-directed learning at times. VCU Technology Services provides “24/7support for the VCU community…. Please contact the VCU helpIT Center (828-2227, with any questions. “ And here is a general rule that also works: when stuck, Google how to do it.  YouTube in particular is  a great “how to” resource.


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