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Computer & System Resources

Computer & System Resources

Online classes offered through NOVA Online use Canvas, the web-based learning management system. While Canvas can be accessed using most web browsers, some features will only work in Chrome or Firefox web browser. It is important that your web browser is up to date and configured correctly in order to utilize all of the functionality Canvas has to offer.

Computer Settings

View this list of  recommended computer system specifications as a guide to successfully access NOVA Canvas Course Content - NOVA Recommended Computer Specifications. Check your course syllabus for other computer requirements. It is always best to use the most up-to-date browser versions and reliable High-Speed Internet connections.

Supported Browsers

Because it's built using web standards, Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser, however NOVA Canvas course content works best in either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browsers.

Below are links to download the latest version of the following browsers:

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

Plug-ins Needed for Many Courses:

A plug-in is a modular program that can be added to a browser to give it additional functionality. Plug-ins are commonly used for interactive or multimedia web content.

If you have videos that don't play or pages that won't load, one likely cause is a problem with a required plug-in. For the latest version of plug-ins visit the sites listed below.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

VLC Multimedia Player for Mac

VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.


During the Java install, Uncheck the “Offer to install the FREE Browser Add on from Ask”
Note for Chrome Mac Users: Chrome for Mac does not support Java 7 because Chrome is a 32-bit browser and Java only supports a 64-bit browser.

Canvas on Mobile Devices

The Canvas Student App is available for both iOS and Android devices and allows students to access their courses using a mobile device. Students can submit assignments, participate in discussions, view course materials and view grades. The app also provides access to course calendars, To Do items, notifications and Inbox/Conversation messages.

**Note that some Canvas course resources provided by your instructor are not compatible with the Canvas for Students app and you may need to access them through the browser.

Additional information about Canvas Student app:

Network / Web Account Setup Instructions

Clearing the Java Cache

Your Java cache is a temporary storage area where frequently accessed data can be stored for rapid access. Once the data is stored  in the cache, future use can be made by accessing the cached copy rather than having to download the content  every time you enter a session, therefore lowering your connection time.

Sometimes cached data can become corrupt or outdated. In such cases we recommend that you delete cached content so that the storage is complete and current. 

Information on how to clear the Java cache on a Windows OS
Information on how to clear the Java cache on a Mac OS

Troubleshooting Issues

Some browser plugins or extensions may conflict with Canvas and affect functionality. If you experience a behavior that does not allow you to view or participate in Canvas courses, please ensure you have disabled any extensions or plugins that interact directly with your web browser.

For troubleshooting, consider logging in to Canvas using an incognito or private browser window, which will provide a browser session without any prior browsing or search history, associated browser cookies, or other factors that may interfere with the browser. If you are able to view and participate in Canvas using an incognito or private browser window, the behavior you are experiencing is likely related to the browser and not Canvas.