Web-Conference Course Guidelines

planning ahead for next summer?

Check back in January, when we'll post the general course listings for 2018. If you join our email list, we'll contact you when the information is live.

Join Our Email List

Participate in a web-conference class at Harvard from anywhere in the world. At a scheduled time each week, you connect to a virtual room and interact with faculty and fellow students via web-conferencing software.

Prepare to Use the Software

Students registered for a web conference course are notified by e-mail about required software (Adobe Connect or Zoom). Once you know the software for your course, you follow the links below to learn how to use it.

Your first class meeting will not include training on the software; it will be a full class in which you actively participate.

The link to your virtual classroom will be posted on online services a week before classes start.

System Requirements

1. Computer minimum specifications:


  • 2GHz Intel Core Duo or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  • Windows 8.1 and 10
  • Web browsers (versions): Chrome 52 and later, Firefox 47 and later. Edge for Win10.


  • 2GHz Intel Core Duo or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  • Mac OS X 10.11 and 10.12
  • Web browsers (versions): Chrome 52 and later, Safari 8 and later, Firefox 47 and later

We do not support participating in web conference courses on mobile devices. 

2. Internet speeds 

Download/upload: Minimum 3.0 Mbps, use a wired connection

Can check at http://www.speedtest.net

3. Headset

  • Logitech H390 USB headset 
  • Or Sennheiser PC230 USB headset

(Similar quality USB headsets available, which may be adequate)

We highly recommend the use of a headset with microphone. Do not use the microphone that is built into a laptop or webcam.

4. Video camera (two options)

  • Adequate: most built-in camera and basic webcams will be fine.
  • Best: Logitech 930e webcam: a little more expensive but much better video quality.

Your instructor may initially limit your use of video and/or audio until all students are better acquainted with the software. You will always be able to communicate with the instructor and other students using the chat window provided.


Zoom will automatically download when a user connects to the correct URL. In most cases, an applet will open upon download. If your web browsers prohibits the auto-launch please double-click on the downloaded file. Please be aware that most Zoom courses are video intensive so a good webcam and headset are important.

All students using Zoom in a web conference class must attend an online Zoom training session before the first class. See the Zoom training schedule.

Adobe Connect

Visit the Connection Test page on the Adobe website.

The tools on this page will:

  • Check to see that your operating system and version of Java meet the minimum requirements
  • Help you get the correct version of Flash if you do not have it
  • Give you a brief orientation to the software

All students using Abode Connect in a web conference class must attend an online training session before the first class. See the Adobe Connect training schedule.

Getting help

After completing the steps above, if you still have problems either in configuring your computer or when you try to attend class call:

Online Support Help Desk (technical questions and computer/software troubleshooting) 

   • (617) 998-8571 Monday–Thursday, 8:45 am–10 pm; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm

   • or e-mail academictechnology@dce.harvard.edu

Enrollment Services (registration, access, and general questions)

Online technology status page


Click "Report a Problem" link from within course video to send an incident report to Online Support. Response within 10 minutes to 24 hours.

Have a question?

Our Enrollment Services team is here to help.

Request Information