A computer is definitely the most important stuff that you need to have when you take your degree online. And of course, you must have an internet connection because your computer is useless without it. It is nearly impossible for anyone to engage in an online learning if he or she does not have a computer with internet connection.
When you study online, you can basically use any computer but it is recommended to check out the system requirements of your target online university before anything else especially if you have older model of PC or laptop. This is because online universities make use of different system in holding and managing their online classes.
If the university has a curriculum that involves real-time classes and activities such as video conferencing, you definitely need a faster processor, a dedicated video card and a DSL connection to be able to participate in the class. On the other hand, if the approach of the online university is asynchronous wherein you will just download your lectures, home works and exams or the instructor will mail the class materials directly on your inbox, a PC with at least Pentium III or equivalent processor and dial-up internet access will suffice.
In fact, online universities like DeVry University specified their system requirements in their admission programs. They even help their students to avail of laptop through financing. The Henley Putnam University on the other hand, already include the cost of laptop in their school fees to assure that all their students can meet the system requirements of their online classes.
So never enroll at once, see to it that the specifications of your PC or laptop meets the minimum PC requirement of your online university or you may frequently become upset and lag behind during your online classes.