Recommendations for your hardware and software

Also in the winter semester, courses at our Faculty will mainly be offered in a digital format. In addition to a central e-teaching and e-learning platform (FHWS E-Learning based on Moodle), you will be using the video-conferencing tool Zoom for many online courses. While individual working styles vary, we ask you to consider the following basics.

Internet connection

For participation in online courses via Zoom, a stable DSL or VDSL connection of at least 16 Mbit would be preferable. The more bandwidth you have available, the better. 

If you do not have access to a stable Internet connection, you will probably be able to use the FHWS’ facilities again to take part in online lectures via the FHWS WiFi. 

Hardware

Desktop PC or notebook

In general, you can participate in the online offers on Zoom with most reasonably up-to-date devices - in addition to desktop PCs and notebooks also with tablets and smartphones. You do not need a high-end device; the most important system requirements for desktop PCs / notebooks and mobile devices are quite basic. Devices suitable for Zoom are absolutely sufficient to use the E-Learning server.

Webcam

Online courses work best if lecturers can actually see their students. We thus ask all our students to attend online courses with a working webcam.

Mobile devices as well as notebooks often have a suitable camera integrated. For desktop PCs, there are good and reasonably priced USB-webcams available.

Microphone

To participate in online courses, it is very useful to be able to ask your questions directly or to have a direct say in discussions. 

In some cases the built-in microphone of your notebook is enough to ensure a reasonable sound quality. If this is not the case, we recommend buying a simple headset. Wired headsets, however, often have a somewhat better quality than Bluetooth headsets.

Please make sure to consider the choice of hardware carefully. After a very short time, you will already be able to work independently, whether in the programming courses, in the preparation and follow-up of what you have learned, in the creation of small presentations or first websites and many other topics very relevant to your course of study.

In general, this still works best if you use a laptop (instead of a tablet), as a good keyboard and a larger display make work much easier, especially for long typing and for all tasks that are related to programming in the broadest sense. Also for face-to-face sessions and the time after to COVID-19 pandemic, access to a notebook (instead of a desktop PC) is preferable, so that you can work with it during the course sessions. 

You do not have to buy an external monitor, it is just a recommendation. 

Software

The most important tool to take part in the online courses and accessing course materials is of course your browser. Most materials are offered as PDF downloads. We favour a programme for opening PDF documents with the possibility to add comments. 

Other software necessary, for example, for the programming courses have to be installed only when the course starts. 

You can follow the online courses via Zoom via your browser. However, experience shows that Zoom works best when the corresponding Zoom client is installed. So, please think of installing this client before the start of the lectures. Downloading the Zoom client is free as is using Zoom for participating in the online courses. For this, no Zoom license is required.