I.T. requirements

NCA’s e-learning programme has been designed to accommodate students with varying levels of technical ability, bandwidth and computer equipment. For this reason, to ensure that all students can access the e-learning programme, we have set a minimum specification - although we have worked hard to ensure that the specification does not place a burden on students. The minimum specification we recommend is set out below. We are constantly working on improvements to make our programme available on more browsers. If you use other browsers or operating systems to access e-learning sessions, please note that:

    (i) some features used in our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or e-learning sessions may not be available, or may not function correctly; and
    (ii) NCA is unable to offer technical support for browser/operating systems other than those outlined below.

NCA does not accept technical problems caused by non-compliance with the minimum specification as a reason for non-attendance at e-learning sessions. During your course, it is your responsibility to upgrade and maintain compliance in order to avoid entire or partial absence from e-learning sessions. Please note that there are also computers at the college which you may use in an emergency to access the VLE and e-learning.

Please do not use a version of Microsoft Windows operating system prior to Windows 7. You will not be able to get a web browser for Windows XP or Vista that is up to date, and these operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft.

While we do support the use of the Google Chrome web browser, we have experienced some problems with a “maximum number of connections” limit that can prevent some files downloading before the others have finished. This is particularly problematic for slower broadband connections. For this reason, we don’t recommend Chrome as a first choice.

We do not support Linux desktop operating systems. Users of this OS may need to install 3rd party software to use some of our systems and we are unable to help with this.

N.B. You may not be able to study successfully using only an iPad or iPhone, tablet or smartphone alone.


Minimum specification

To fully access the NCA e-learning programme you must have a compatible web browser:

We currently recommend the latest versions of one of the following browsers:


ON A PC (Windows 7 or 8 or 10):

  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Edge
  • Chrome

We don’t currently recommend Microsoft’s Edge browser on Windows 10. It will work with most parts of our VLE and e-learning but there are limitations – mainly connected to watching clinic videos.


ON an Apple Mac (OS 10.95 or later):

  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Chrome

ON AN iPAD (iOS8 or later):

  • Safari. On an iPad, Safari is an integral part of iOS and should stay automatically up to date. To check, go to Settings/General/Software Update – this triggers your iPad to check for software and update itself.

Note that full access to e-learning sessions on an iPad or iPhone may involve some ‘workaround’ practice; you can easily watch a whole e-learning session on an iPad or iPhone, but some of the extended activities are likely to require access to a computer. For instance, some e-learning sessions ask you to download and print documents: depending on your equipment set-up it is possible that you will need to either email the downloaded documents from your iPad or iPhone to a computer, or just access the session on a computer where you can download them direct.
For this reason, NCA advises that you have access to a computer in addition to an iPad or iPhone, in order to access e-learning sessions fully.
Note: You may have some difficulty opening PowerPoint presentations, caused by an iPad compatibility problem. Try pressing and holding the link until you get a context menu up then select 'open in new tab'. Depending on your installed apps, the presentation should open.



  • Microsoft Word – at least 2007 (Windows) or 2008 (Mac). If you do not already have this, you may like to know that you can buy or subscribe to most software as educational versions at a massive discount. Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/b/home, or http://www.software4students.co.uk/ for more information. You will be able to prove your student status once you have enrolled at College and started your programme. However, as a student at the college, we will provide you with a Microsoft Office 365 account, which includes online versions of Word and other Office applications, which may be sufficient for your use. You will also be provided with an nca.ac.uk email address and we will require you to use this new email address for all college communications once enrolled on the course.
  • Adobe Reader or DC for PDF access. You can download the Adobe Reader at http://get.adobe.com/reader/. It is free of charge. Please note that there is a compatibility issue between Adobe Reader and other PDF readers. For this reason, NCA recommends that you use Adobe Reader for your e-learning PDF viewing and completion. Please make sure you are using Version 11 or later, as all our in house support and documentation is based on this. To check if you have Version 11 or later, select About Reader from the Adobe Reader menu at the top of the screen; please update if necessary.
  • Access to a printer, preferably colour. Some exercises and worksheets will require printing out to complete, and some of them require colour to understand the diagram or illustrations they use.
  • Broadband access. You will need a reasonable speed of connection (4 megabits per second (Mbps) or above is ideal). A standard domestic broadband line should deliver this at most times without difficulty. If you would like to check your current connection speed, try this site: http://www.broadbandspeedtest.co.uk
    You may also need to check your internet contract for data usage details: a standard domestic broadband contract should be easily sufficient, but bear in mind your existing internet usage; your e-learning access may nudge your contract into the next data band up, and you may need to contact your internet service provider to upgrade your contract. If you are already a heavy internet user, please do this before you begin accessing e-learning, as NCA obviously cannot take responsibility for any ‘unfair usage’ penalties or fees that your internet service provider may levy.
  • Anti-virus Software. The College uses antivirus software that may block any emails that appear suspicious. Make sure you have some antivirus coverage for your own peace of mind and to protect your computer. ESET regularly wins awards for best anti-virus protection (http://www.eset.co.uk). Students qualify for a 50% student discount for this software. Contact our IT Administrator for more details.



  • Access to a computer or tablet that meets Microsoft Skype for Business specifications. You will not need to buy a subscription to use this. Skype for Business (formerly called Lync) is Video Conferencing / instant messaging service similar to Skype and is the preferred method of such services used by the College. It allows instant messaging, voice over IP and video conferencing. It is being used now for online tutorials, Q&A sessions for online-only MSc’s, admissions interviews and attendance at some College meetings.
    Courses that currently use Skype for Business are:
    • MSc in Acupuncture;
    • MSC in Advanced Oriental Medicine;
    • MSc in Advanced Complementary Therapy;
    • MSc in Advanced Nutrition.

In broad terms, it is supported on Windows 10, 8, Windows 7 and Intel-based MAC OS-x operating systems.

It is not supported for video or audio on Windows operating systems before Windows 7. More information and a list of Skype for Business Web App Supported platforms is available on our e-learning web site at http://www.elearnwithnca.co.uk/help/lync.

If you are using a tablet, you will need to download the free Windows Skype for Business (Formerly Lync) app from your app store before joining any Skype for Business meetings.

  • A microphone, speakers (or preferably earphones) plus a webcam will also be required for Skype for Business meetings and tutorials.

Further Information for the minimum specification:

You will find some useful information on our e-learning platform at http://www.elearnwithnca.co.uk/help. This will tell you what browser you are running currently so you can compare it with the specification above. You will find some more information about Skype for Business at http://www.elearnwithnca.co.uk/help. This same link also gives you access to our help ticket system, plus descriptions of common issues and how to solve them.


We make every effort to keep our specification up to date without imposing extra burdens on our staff and students. Due to the rapidly evolving browser market, the recommendation for compatible browsers is likely to change.


NCA: supported and non-supported software and hardware, 2018:

supported and unsupported


Contact details:

For technical questions, please raise a help ticket at www.ncoasupport.co.uk/help

For general questions, call NCA IT Administrator David Laverick on 01904 343310 or email