Plug-ins & Utilities

These are free or demonstration resources that you can download directly from software web sites to your own computer. Many on-line courses will make use of one or more of these resources for activities such as viewing streaming video or PowerPoint presentations.


Internet Browsers

Microsoft Internet Explorer is Microsoft's World Wide Web browser.

Windows versions


Firefox is Mozilla's World Wide Web browser.

Windows version

Mac OSx version



Must-Have Plug-ins and Utilities


Adobe Acrobat Reader is free software from Abode for viewing and printing Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

Windows and Macintosh versions



Desire2Learn requires Java to run important features, including quizzes and chat sessions.

Sun Java™ Virtual Machine (JVM) Windows version - allows programs called "applets" to run inside your Web browser. Apple's Mac OS X ships with the Java 2 platform already installed. 

Windows and Macintosh


Adobe Flash & Shockwave

Adobe Shockwave - a video, sound, and animation viewer. It allows for viewing of all Shockwave content, including Flash. Shockwave also allows for the most engaging, interactive content on the Web.

Windows and Macintosh versions

Adobe Flash - an animation viewer that supports sound. This will allow you to view animated sequences that are included in your course.

Other Media Plug-ins

Windows Media Player

Microsoft's Windows Media Player is the Windows default media player for viewing multiple video formats as well as playing MP3s. If you are a windows user, you likely already have one version of this software.

Windows version

Macintosh OS versions for 8.1 through 9.x and OS X


Real Player 

Real Player is free software from Real for streaming media (video and audio).

Windows 98 and above version (download the free Basic Real Player)

For Mac OS X version



QuickTime is Apple's complete technology for handling video, sound, animation, graphics, text, music, and even 360-degree virtual reality scenes. QuickTime handles 200 kinds of digital media with your PC and Macintosh.

Windows and Macintosh versions


VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming files.

Windows version