Which browser should you use?
When I came to OC in 2005 I was given a DELL 610 running Windows operating system, and I set about searching the web using IE (Internet Explorer). It was what I knew, and it was comfortable! Also in my comfort zone were Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, and Powerpoint.
Now my comfort zone is in a different place altogether. I can’t stand IE. I get annoyed when I have to open Word to view a document, and I don’t even have an email program on my computer (gmail’s web interface meets my needs). When I flip open my laptop, the first place I go is my internet browser. In my browser I check my email, manage my calendar, access and edit most of my files, and even send text messages. In fact, most of the work I do is in my browser, and it has basically become its own operating system.
So, which browser do I use? Well, the answer is complicated. I use Chrome for Google Apps like gmail, drive, calendar, and voice. Then I use Firefox for Blackboard and for accessing a few other educational sites (e.g. my eTextbook and homework system). And then sometimes I use Safari, but mainly just to check and see how my students might be seeing things if they are using it. What about IE? Well, speaking frankly, I don’t recommend IE to anyone, and I mainly use IE to diagnose problems that faculty are having with Blackboard and other sites.
The North Institute recently fielded several support tickets where instructors were not seeing all of their courses on Blackboard. Some course links were there, but not all, and it was baffling. For kicks and giggles, we suggested they try using Chrome or Firefox, and suddenly their courses appeared! Why is this the case? It turns out IE is no longer fully supported, and depending on your version of IE, it might not jive with Bb. Click here to see a list of supported browsers for our current version of Blackboard
The North Institute’s recommended browsers for accessing Blackboard are Firefox or Chrome. Both are fully supported, and freely available for Mac or Windows users. We recommend going so far as to include this as a requirement in your course policies, so that students are expected to access your course content using Firefox or Chrome. Click here for a sample browser requirement policy statement
If you want to go a step further, you can add the code below as an Announcement in Blackboard so that students are alerted if using an unsupported browser.
<div><iframe src="https://ed.oc.edu/ni/browser/bb/" width="100%" height="100" frameborder="0"></iframe></div>
Here is how it appears to students:
Global Web Browser and Operating System statistics: http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
Monthly Web Browser trends 2007 to present:
Browse wisely, friends!