West Hills Online
Computer Requirements

General Information

To successfully complete online classes at West Hills College, end users must have consistent and convenient access to a computer with the following compatible operating system and browser configuration. 

Requirements and Download Resources for Canvas

Basic computer specifications for Canvas

This is a list of basic computer system requirements to use Canvas. It is always recommended to use the most up-to-date versions and better connections. Canvas will still run with the minimum specifications, but you may experience slower loading times. Learn more about browser requirements.

Screen Size

Canvas is best viewed at a minimum of 800x600, which is the average size of a notebook computer. If you want to view Canvas on a device with a smaller screen, we recommend using the Canvas mobile app.

Operating Systems 

  • Windows 7 and newerMac OSX 10.6 and newer
  • Linux - ChromeOS

Mobile Operating System Native App Support

  • iOS 7 and newer
  • Android 4.2 and newer  

Computer Speed and Processor

  • Use a computer 5 years old or newer when possible1GB of RAM
  • 2GHz processor 

Internet Speed 

  • Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
  • Minimum of 512kbps 

Screen Readers 

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer)
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome

Please note, this is a minimum configuration!

As with all computer applications, the higher the technology of your equipment, the better and faster the processing. Please check with the instructor for your online class for any other hardware/software requirements specific to the course.  Always be prepared for your online class BEFORE it begins to make your online learning experience the best it can possibly be!

Helpful Resources

Suggested Requirements

Firefox or Internet Explorer with Javascript Enabled
Adobe Flash Player

Enabling Javascript for Firefox
Enabling Javascript for Internet Explorer
Windows Media Player
Quicktime Player
Required for taking tests or viewing content that implements BrowserLock: Windows BrowserLock Installer
Mac OS X 10.6 - 10.8
Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.5

Additional Suggested Software

Students must check with their online instructors for specific software requirements for each online class.

  • Many instructors use the Respondus Lockdown Browser when they administer tests and quizzes.  This is a special browser that you must install on your computer in order to take a test in Canvas if your instructor has decided to use it.  More information  (Contractual obligations prohibit us from providing the free download link for this browser except behind a password protected site such as Canvas.  Our online students will be able to access this download link from their personal Canvas sites).

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader may be necessary to open certain document types from your instructor.
  • Microsoft Office Word is recommended. Microsoft Office products (such as Word) can be purchased for a discounted price through the California Community College Foundation
    • If you do not have Word and cannot purchase it at this time, Open Office is available for free and will allow you to open Microsoft Office documents without purchasing the software.
    • Also, your new My Student Email powered by Microsoft's Live@EDU (available in My West Hills) has the Microsoft Office Word Web App available for free.  This allows you to view and create Word documents within your web browser. 
  • PowerPoint viewer can be downloaded from Microsoft's Website for free. 
    • If you have a Macintosh, Open Office for Mac OS X is a free solution allowing you to open Office documents without having to purchase the software.
      NOTE:  You do  not need to download Powerpoint Viewer if you have PowerPoint or Office 2008 for Mac installed on your computer. If using Powerpoint 2003, get the Compatibility Pack for Powerpoint 2007 (and other Office 2007 Programs) by downloading it from Microsoft's Website.
    • Also, your new My Student Email powered by Microsoft's Live@EDU (available in My West Hills) has the Microsoft Office Powerpoint Web App available for free. This allows you to view and create Powerpoint presentations within your web browser.
  • You will need a Media Player that supports videos, audio, and other multimedia used by your instructor in their course.
  • Macintosh users will need the Quicktime Media Player with the plug-in Flip for Mac in order to view the Windows Media Video (.wmv) and other file types used by many instructors in the online classes.  If using a Macintosh, please make sure you understand the media extensions supported by the various Macintosh OS.  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3526 is a knowledgebase article with links to various plug-ins you might need depending upon the media type.


Students using Canvas must use their West Hills College student email account.  Contact the Help Desk if you need help accessing your student email account.  Help Desk contact information can be found at the bottom of the page.


Questions should be directed to the toll-free Help Desk, 800.266.1114 x2002 or email at helpdesk@whccd.edu.