Technology Requirements for Students

Each online course space at UBC may look different, even within the same faculty, school, or department. These differences exist because your instructors are using the best tools for teaching in their specific classes. No matter how online course spaces are presented, these technical requirements for students should help you get up and running.

Prep Your Tech

As a starting point, try to meet the following requirements as best you can.


A desktop or laptop computer will be easier to complete your work on than a mobile device or tablet. Smaller devices have less screen real estate for viewing and interacting with your online course content. Additionally, not all UBC learning technologies work on tablets and mobile devices.

We recommend a computer with the following minimum specifications:

  • Intel i5 or equivalent processor
  • 8GB memory
  • 256GB drive
  • The latest, fully updated operating system
  • Updated antivirus software


Many computers come with a built-in speaker and microphone. But a headset with a microphone that you plug into your computer will provide the best audio experience.


If your computer does not have a built-in camera, it’s best to get a webcam that you can attach. You can still participate in web-conferencing lectures and meetings without one, but online exams may require it.

Web Browser

Each technology may have different requirements of which browsers they work with best, and you may wish to check the browser requirements for Canvas specifically. As a starting point, install the latest version of at least one of these browsers: Chrome or Firefox.


All active UBC students can download Microsoft Office 365 software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) for free. Additional teaching and learning tools are available to download for free, including Camtasia for video editing, Snagit for screen capturing, and VideoScribe for animations.


Connect to the Internet

There are a few different ways you can consider connecting to your online learning.

Wired or Wireless Connection

Both wired and wireless connections will work; however, it may be better and faster to use a wired connection, if you can. Many courses deliver content in a variety of multimedia, including video streaming for lectures. So the higher the speed, the better. A minimum 5.0 Mbps (Megabits per second) download and 1.0 Mbps upload speed will handle most UBC learning technologies.

Mobile Hotspots

If you are in cellular range and have a data plan for your phone, you may be able to use your phone to connect your computer. Read about using mobile hotspots for Apple or using mobile hotspots for Android, and check with your phone provider to understand how this use may impact data and billing.


  • Internet speed can be improved by closing unused applications and browser windows or tabs, as well as turning off any video sharing.
  • Know that ResNet internet in all UBC student residences exceeds the minimum for UBC speed recommendations.
  • Try using the UBC VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect, if you have issues accessing learning technologies from your location.