Required Technical Competency to Succeed in Online Courses

Although taking online courses does not require a high level of technical competency, familiarizing yourself with using computers and engaging in Web-related activities, as well as having access to the required hardware and tools, are critical factors in successful online learning. You should have some basic knowledge about how to navigate the Internet, how to use search engines, how to use computer operating systems (Windows/Mac OS), how to send and receive e-mails, how to use a word processing program to edit your writing assignments, and how to use course tools such as discussion forums and drop boxes. Familiarizing yourself with those tools will help you reduce your frustration while engaging in online learning activities. 

Penn State ITS Training offers a service in which Penn State faculty, staff, and students have free access to the software tutorials at, Inc.. This service is available at no cost for both Mac and PC users with a variety of most popular software, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, SQL, Drupal, audio and video editing applications, ColdFusion, operating systems, and many more. Go to the Penn State access page on the Web site (, and log in with your Penn State WebAccess User ID and password. Once you log in, click on any tutorial to get started. For any questions, you may contact the ITS Help Desk at 814-865-HELP or for help.