Browsers and instructional technology – how to manage their love-hate relationships

What is a browser?

A browser is a program that allows users to navigate the internet. A choice of a browser can depend not only on user preferences but also on types of devices used and their operating systems (e.g. PC vs. MAC or iPhone vs. Android). The most commonly used browsers include Internet Explorer/Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Although most browsers will perform relatively well in most cases, some websites may be optimized for some browsers and not others.

What does instructional technology have to do with this?

Many of the tools we have at Wentworth are web-based and depend on good Internet performance, such as connectivity and browser. These include but are not limited to:

  • Blackboard
  • Echo360 ALP
  • GoToMeeting
  • NuVu

Ongoing maintenance, such as security updates, is often done without our knowledge to both the instructional tools and the browsers used to access these tools. And, while such maintenance is crucial, it sometimes causes (usually temporary) glitches and interruptions in tool performance.

What browsers are recommended?

There is no single right answer and much will depend on user preferences and technology used. However, considering our toolkit here at Wentworth, we tend to recommend Firefox and Chrome as the most stable. Internet Explorer and Edge seem to be more problematic. That being said, occasional issues are common when using instructional technology in any browser.

What can be done?

If experiencing unexpected behavior when using otherwise stable online tools, the following actions usually resolve many if not most browser-related issues.

Clear Browser History and Cache

To speed up website loading time, your browser keeps track of your navigation history and saves information from your previous visits locally on your computer. However, this occasionally causes issues when using Blackboard and other online tools. Clearing History and Cache often resolves many issues.

Update your browser

Switch to a different browser

For any other questions related to instructional technology or browser issues, please contact LIT@WIT.EDU or HELPDESK@WIT.EDU.

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Concise and helpful article! It’s probably no surprise that the best browsers for the WIT library databases are Firefox and Chrome. Thanks!

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