University of St Andrews

School of Medicine Short Courses

Short Courses > Online learning

Online learning

Software, hardware and connectivity requirements

Computers (Laptop or desktop)

Your personal computer should meet the following system requirements:

  • Windows devices should run Windows 10.
  • Apple devices should run a minimum of MacOS 11.
  • Web browser devices should run up to date web browsers for the best experience.

Smarphones and tablets

You should make sure your devices are up to date so you have the latest security policies in place. iOS and Android devices should be running the latest operating system.


Most devices have a built-in microphone, camera and speakers which can be used to participate in tutorials and lectures. Headphones or headsets are recommended if you have them as this improves the quality of sound, avoids echo and minimises background noise.

Broadband Connection

For remote learning, you need to have reliable broadband internet access; a service of at least 3Mb/s will ensure you have the best experience when accessing online resources.

To ensure optimal performance, the following checks are recommended:

  • Your home broadband provider will guarantee a speed for their service to your home. Check the speed in your house using one of the many broadband speed checkers available, e.g. Speedtest or Which’s broadband speed test. Ensure you are getting the speed you are paying for. If you are not, contact your internet service provider, as they may be able to resolve the issue or offer alternative solutions.
  • Router location and connection – your connection will be impacted by the walls in your house; if performance is poor, try to use your device close to the router. Consider using an ethernet cable to connect directly to the router, by doing so you are likely to achieve a faster, more stable connection than Wi-Fi. If you need to work in a more remote location in your home it may be worth considering buying a Wi-Fi extender, which can help to boost the signal.
  • Reducing interference – Wi-Fi signals can be subject to interference from several sources including neighbouring Wi-Fi transmissions and even using microwave ovens or other electrical equipment nearby.
  • Other users of the broadband connection – if other members of your household are streaming videos or playing an online game while you work, this may affect your device’s internet connection.

If you followed the steps above and your connection is still poor, then also consider the following:

  • Use data from your mobile phone – you may be able to tether your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to your computer. In certain locations coverage may be better than fixed line broadband. However, ensure you don’t go over your data usage allowance or you may incur significant costs. Many phone and SIM providers offer an unlimited data tariff at a reasonable price.
  • Reduce the bandwidth of the applications you are using – if you are struggling to maintain a working connection then switching from video to audio conferencing will significantly reduce your data requirements. Also, turn off other services and devices that may be using the connection.

Online learning etiquette

Please abide by the St Andrews Code of Conductand treat each other with the same respect and politeness as would be expected in a face-to-face classroom.

Be on time

Please be prompt for the start of the course.  We would suggest your check your IT is working in advance.

Mute your microphone

When you’re not talking or contributing to the session, it’s useful to mute your microphone to ensure that any background noise doesn’t disrupt the session. You can always unmute yourself when you want to ask a question, but make sure you are mindful of the appropriate times to do so.

Stay present

Distractions can hinder your learning experience, and this is something that you should look to avoid if you wish to fully take advantage of your course.  However, if you need to step out for a short period please do so.