Computer requirements for studying online

It will be your choice to decide which web-enabled devices you use for your postgraduate studies with the Educational Research Department but these notes are intended to help inform that decision. You should be able to use a mobile device for many of the tasks required for your studies but for the longer writing tasks it is likely that you will need a device such as a laptop or desk-based PC.

Essential tasks

  1. Accessing Moodle which is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used at Lancaster University. Moodle is tested on a wide range of web-enabled devices including several brands of tablet computer. If you use a mobile device then one way to access Moodle is via the iLancaster app although this will not contain all the features you will find when accessing Moodle via the web;
  2. Accessing Microsoft Teams to collaborate with staff and students. Again this is tested on a wide range of web-enabled devices;
  3. Using Library search tools such as OneSearch and resources such as electronic versions of books and journal articles. Many library tools and resources are accessible using mobile devices;
  4. Writing assignments which will range from about 2,000 words in length up to between 15,000 and 20,000 words for your Masters dissertation or between 45,000 and 80,000 words for your PhD thesis (please check programme websites for specific details);
  5. Submitting assignments which is usually done using Moodle.

Recommended and optional video conference participation

Here are some of the recommended and optional video conferencing activities currently available in the Department of Educational Research.

Recommended activities

Some programmes offer synchronous video conference sessions with tutors and students, for example, to hold small group discussions about assignment planning. These are not necessarily regular in that they are set up when either tutors or students or both identify a specific need.

Optional activities

  1. Synchronous discussions amongst students, for example, when working together on group tasks or for social interaction outside Moodle teaching spaces;
  2. Departmental online reading group (about 3 meetings a year);
  3. Departmental Seminars (about 15 each year).

Technical requirements for video conference participation

If you wish to participate in video conferencing activities then you will need a microphone (preferably as part of a headset), a webcam and a reliable internet connection. For video conferencing we currently use Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These work on many web-enabled devices but not all so you may need to try different devices.

Further information

Please contact Rebecca Marsden (Online Learning Support Officer) if you have any further queries about online and distance learning related to Educational Research PhD and MA programmes.