Web-Conference Course Guidelines

Participate in a web-conference class at Harvard from anywhere in the world. At a scheduled time each week, you connect to a web-conference classroom and interact with faculty and fellow students online in real time. For expectations regarding student participation, see Attendance and Participation.

Learn about the experience of web-conference courses from faculty in this video.

Prepare to Use the Software

Web conference courses use either Zoom or Adobe Connect software as indicated in each course description.

All first-time web conference students must learn to use the software before their first class. Please go to the web conference information page, and select the link on the left (example 'Zoom') to find upcoming training dates and times. 

You may also follow the links below to learn the software. 

Once you are registered, you can find the URL for web conference classrooms in online services and on password-protected course websites a week before the start of classes.

System Requirements

1. Computer minimum specifications:


  • 2GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  • Windows 8 or 10
  • Web Browsers (versions): Chrome v50 or later, Firefox v45 or later, Internet Explorer 11.0.9 or later, Edge for Win10


  • 2GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  • Mac OS 10.10 and 10.11
  • Web Browsers (versions): Chrome v50 or later, Firefox v45 or later, Safari v8 or later

We do not support

  • Beta versions of any software
  • Taking courses or viewing videos on mobile devices
  • Linux

2. Internet Speeds 

Download/upload: minimum 3 Mbps, use a wired connection

Can check at http://www.speedtest.net

3. Headset

Logitech H390 USB headset


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 (2 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.

5. Audio

Your instructor may initially limit your use of video and/or audio until the 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 browser prohibits the auto-launch please double-click on the downloaded file. Zoom courses are video intensive; a good webcam and headset are important.

Getting started with Zoom has basic feature and setup advice. This website also has a Zoom-specific help chat.

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

The Quick Start for Participants will give you information about the various tools available in the interface.

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 (Technical Questions and Computer/Software Troubleshooting) 

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. You can expect a response within 10 minutes to 24 hours.