Frequently Asked Questions

Course Formats:

We offer both Live and asynchronous/self-paced courses.  Enrollment provides 6 months’ access to all materials for a course, including access to the live session in Live Courses, streaming video course session recordings (for live courses, generally posted within 72 hours of each live session), downloadable handouts and supporting materials, quizzes for each course session for self-assessment and documentation of participation, an online course discussion forum, and downloadable course completion documents.

Live presentations
involve a “screencast;” sharing of the lecture slides from my computer desktop in your web browser window, with my live audio narration, along with a live webcam view of me presenting. You’ll be able to participate with questions & comments via live webcam & microphone (if you have a computer headset), and will be able to text questions & comments to me via the live session interface. Questions that don’t get addressed during the live session may be addressed in the course support page discussion forum between & after live sessions.  A printable handout in .pdf format, with room for note-taking, is provided for download shortly before the presentation from the course support page.  If you are unable to attend one or more sessions live or if you prefer self-paced/asynchronous participation, you may participate via the streaming course session recording(s).

Asynchronous offerings
involve video of previously-offered live sessions or pre-recorded sessions, streaming from the course support site.

Videos will be available as streaming video from the course support page for the 6-month duration of your registration (more time will be granted for reasonable request).  Videos are not made available for download.

An online post-session quiz on the course support page is provided for self-review and to document your participation, and verification of participation documents may be downloaded from the course page following successful completion.

Technical Requirements for course participation:

For Live courses:
Live courses are offered using Cisco WebEx Online Meeting, at the times specified individually for each course.

Test your platform using this link:  http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html

You’ll need a “standard” computer (laptop or desktop, Mac, Windows or Linux) with a contemporary web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer); or an iOS or Android Mobile Devices (tablet or smartphone) with the Cisco WebEx Mobile APP (available from the APP store for your device).  External computer speakers or a computer headset will improve sound quality, and a computer headset combining earphones and microphone (I’m particularly fond of this one) will allow you to participate with live audio during the sessions, avoiding reverb echo that can occur with open mic and speakers.  An optional call-in phone number is provided, in case you prefer a phone connection for audio rather than Voice-over-internet connection through your computer.

For our course support platform & asynchronous offerings:

The course support platform and its contents are accessible on any modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer) and “standard” computer (laptop or desktop, Mac, Windows or Linux) or via iOS or Android Mobile Devices (tablet or smartphone).  Display of videos on Mac, Windows or Linux platforms requires installation of the free Adobe Flash Player (this is not required on iOS or Android devices, as these handle streaming video differently).  Some of the question types in the quizzes may require you to have JAVA enabled in your web browser.

Streaming of the videos requires you to have sufficient contiguous free space on your computer’s hard drive; 1MB should be sufficient, and if using Windows on a machine with a standard (not solid-state) hard drive, make sure your hard drive is defragmented; it is best to maintain a hard drive never more than 2/3 full to avoid fragmentation of files & free space, and if using Windows, to defragment on a regular schedule (defragmentation is not necessary on Mac OS X and Linux systems, and is not recommended on solid state or hybrid drives).

Internet connection

A “broadband” (cable or DSL) connection is recommended, with a minimal download bandwidth of 1Mb/sec.  You can test your actual bandwidth here: https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/; note this is often less than the “up to” speed promised by your internet service provider.  Internet speeds may vary by time of day and local community traffic, so it is best to take samples at different times.

It is best to avoid shared connections, such as might be found at coffeeshops & libraries, and to avoid sharing a home connection with other users, as these divide up bandwidth much as running the kitchen faucet may steal water from the shower.  A common reason for poor video performance among our users is a teenaged son gaming online in the basement, siphoning off internet bandwidth.