Academy of Musical Science and Technology
Organology, Musical Acoustics and Musical Instrument Making

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Methodology

We offer several in-person, blended and on-line courses and workshops. All of them are instructor-led courses, which means that you always have a teacher to follow your learning evolution, to adapt its contents to your knowledge level and to solve your potential doubts.

For self-teaching we also offer the access to many documents through our Encyclopaedia of Musical Science and Technology.

Workshops

In education, a workshop is a brief intensive course, a seminar, an academic conference or a series of meetings emphasizing interaction and exchange of information among a usually small number of participants where a master leads and help students into the practical aspects of a particular subject or project.

Courses

A course is a series of lectures or lessons in a particular subject. A course is a unit of teaching that typically lasts one academic term, is led by one or more instructors (teachers or professors), has a fixed roster of students, and gives each student a grade and academic credit.

It can also refers to the entire program of studies required to complete a degree, lasting several years or academic terms.

On-line vs. In-person

The online courses and workshops can be completed from a distance without attending traditional 'in person' classes. Below you can find a comprehensive discussion about pros and cons of the on-line courses and what you should take into account to choose one.

Blended

Some courses and workshops require a small portion of the learning in a degree or certificate program take place "on-campus" to meet their educational goals.

Depending on the educational level, subject matter, and course, a wide range of distance learning delivery formats are currently being used. There is no one format which is considered "best overall," so it is important you familiarize yourself with all of the options.


Distance learning

Learning is the act of developing skills or obtaining knowledge.

Distance learning refers to any education that is conducted outside of a traditional classroom setting. Generally speaking, distance learning follows one of two models: the correspondence course or the online course.

Correspondence course students receive and submit their class materials physically, through postal delivery.

Online students receive their materials via the Internet.

E-learning just means that you develop skills and obtain knowledge electronically. E-Learning may describe course work which uses a computer as part of a class, whether guided by an instructor or utilizing an independent method of learning.

We use the term e-learning to mean distance learning delivered electronically especially through the Internet. According to our methodology, e-learning and on-line learning are in practice synonyms.

On-line learning

Online learning has become the most common and popular delivery method of distance learning. The majority of colleges and universities offering distance learning courses or degrees use e-mail, the Internet, and related technologies to:

  • Promote access to educational programs
  • Communicate with students and teachers
  • Facilitate the learning process
  • Provide and distribute information

Advancements and changes

The amount of knowledge and information that must be taught to today's students and workers is expanding at a tremendous rate. Memorizing facts will have a much lower value, while utilizing information for analysis and decision making will be a critical skill for educational and professional advancement.

Continuous learning

From now on, the typical worker will have many distinct careers in his or her lifetime. Each of these career paths or changes will require the attainment and practice of new knowledge, skills, and competencies. Lifelong learning will be something any individual must do to remain competitive. Students will be expected to have an ability to conduct research, analyze data, adapt to changes, etc.

In this way, distance learning provides a more resourceful solution for the student and working population. Its flexibility, accessibility, and program diversity better meets the immediate educational needs of individuals, making learning more meaningful, effective, and practical.

International study

The world is shrinking rapidly. The Internet has brought the world together in ways that nobody could have expected. You can now attend a college halfway around the world with classmates living in any country. International education will likely gain in popularity and enrolment as demand from students increases. Travel costs, bureaucracy, and cultural barriers will impact international study less and less.

The Anatomy of an Online Course

For students who have never taken an online course before, the concept can be somewhat foreign.

Students need to know the typical office software (a word processor, a spreadsheet...) and maybe some specific programs depending on the course. Students also need to daily check their email account.

Online courses can have a discussion board wherein students post responses, questions and replies to other postings. The students can interact with each other for group projects or chat with the instructor. Some discussion posts are extensive and require sourcing. Also everyone is required to post and respond, with grades attached to these discussions. In online discussion board postings, it is important to know and follow some courtesy and etiquette rules known as "netiquette" (Internet etiquette) to avoid conflicts.

The material learned in these online courses can also be applied in daily life. The online course becomes a living thing: most of the students are working in the field and are often times doing things that are applicable in real life.

Online students have to schedule the course into their daily life. Anything in life worth doing is worth doing well, and anything worth doing is worth scheduling. Sometimes what students learn from the course goes beyond the subject matter: You learn how to discipline yourself, develop problem-solving skills, and learn how to schedule and prioritize your time.

The amount of time students are required to be on the Internet differs from course to course. Some instructors provide information and course materials using only e-mail. Other instructors will require students to go to a designated web page or web site to log into a virtual classroom environment.

Be prepared to do a lot of reading and writing. In the online medium, teachers ask more of the students than in a face-to-face classes. Online courses are more labour intensive and time-consuming than a in-person class because it takes longer to type something and edit it, than to say something in a classroom.

Online courses often have quizzes based on the readings and discussions. The quizzes demonstrate a balanced approach between the acquisition of knowledge and the use of problem-solving skills. Then, there are mid-terms and final exams, which students complete online within a certain timeframe and a final project that is due at end of the course.

Most online students these days have families and jobs. If you have good time management skills and are organized, you can do well in an online course. For someone to do to an online class, they must be very self-disciplined. Online courses really do not lend themselves to procrastinators. With online courses, there are sometimes Internet server errors and technical difficulties, and people cannot wait until the final deadline to turn in assignments.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Classes

Synchronous online classes are those that require students and instructors to be online at the same time. Lectures, discussions, and presentations occur at a specific hour. All students must be online at that specific hour in order to participate.

Asynchronous classes are just the opposite. Instructors provide materials, lectures, tests, and assignments that can be accessed at any time. Students may be given a timeframe – usually a one week window – during which they need to connect at least once or twice. But overall, students are free to contribute whenever they choose.

Self-Paced Education

In self-paced programs you pace the classes yourself. That means you don't have to drive to a campus at a scheduled time, and you won't be asked to work on group projects with other students at your school. The timeline for finishing is usually very lenient. So if you run into busy seasons — at home, or at work — you don't need to worry about exam dates or overdue assignments.

In general, self-paced programs are really wonderful options. But procrastinators should beware. Those who do especially well are those who can work unsupervised, remain motivated, and stay on task. Independent e-learners usually love their self-paced programs.

Even self-paced schools won't wait forever. If you fall behind — going beyond the maximum time allowed for courses or semesters — you might have to pay an extension fee and eventually, you might be dropped from a program for not making satisfactory progress.

How You'll Be Graded in an Online Course

As you’re exploring the option of an online degree, you might wonder how online students are graded. And while there’s no single formula for online grading, most online instructors test and grade students just like traditional classroom teachers. Exams, quizzes, papers, and group projects are all par for the (online) course.

That said, some subjects lend themselves better to sit down exams. Other subject knowledge is better evaluated through presentations and papers. Your area of study and your degree level will probably affect the types of assignments you receive in online courses.

If you’re concerned about grades and grading, take a moment to review the following assessment methods. Once you’re familiar with the possibilities, you may want to ask several college enrolment advisors which methods are most commonly used within their programs.

Proctored Exams

Some online courses require you to go to a testing centre in your area, when it’s time to take tests. At the testing centre, students need to present photo identification, so test proctors can ensure that no one is cheating. Proctors then oversee the exam for its entire duration. This process, along with a monitored testing environment, can make some students nervous. And the nearest testing centre may a considerable distance from your home. Tests are always easier when you’re familiar with the format. If it’s possible try a practice exam at home.

Timed Quizzes and Exams

Timed, at-home exams are more common than proctored tests. You’ll be asked to log in to a site where you’ll gain access to a quiz or exam, which is usually in a multiple choice format. As soon as you log in, the clock starts, so be sure to log in only when you’re ready to begin. Many times, you’ll have the option of trying practice exams that will help you prepare for the material and the test format. Remember that one cause of test anxiety is a lack of familiarity with the process. If you want to get rid of test nerves, a great way to do so is to practice test at least twice.

Discussion Board Posts

Some instructors evaluate your performance based on the quality of your interaction with others in the discussion board forum. If you’re a quiet person, you’ll have to push yourself to vocalize thoughts and questions. Start a habit of reading with a pen in hand. Jot down your reactions and questions, so you’ll have comments to post. Keep in mind that quantity and quality are important. Five posts a day won’t do you any good if you’re not expressing anything worthwhile. Try responding to your classmates’ questions; pose your own questions; reference outside readings and websites that relate to the class topic. If you agree or disagree with points being made, offer examples that support your position.

Collaborative Activities

Group projects challenge you to work together with your classmates. Whether you’re creating a paper, a presentation, or a portfolio, your group will need to divide roles and responsibilities in a clear and effective way. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re concerned about the project’s direction, or if some group members aren’t pulling their weight. Remember that group assignments are intended to prepare you for the working world and for the everyday collaboration that business professionals must accomplish. Get in the habit of taking your work seriously.

Projects

Project assignments vary a great deal. They are usually assigned to showcase the practical skills you are learning. It’s okay to get creative with your class projects. After all, you should be enjoying the things you’re learning. But be careful not to stray too far from the assignment parameters. As your project evolves, check in with your instructor to make sure that you are on track.

Essays

Essays are formal papers that are required in many different courses. Essays are shorter than research papers, but their requirements can vary. Before you start writing, make sure you understand the assignment and all of its required components. Draft an outline. Have a classmate review your first draft. Most importantly, do not wait until the last minute to start writing.

Research Papers

Research papers are a common form of assessment at the college level. Most research papers will require you to identify a research question, develop an outline, do research in online libraries, and write a paper that answers your original question. Some of the most common pitfalls are selecting a topic that is too broad, and becoming over-reliant on Wikipedia or online sources that are not peer-reviewed.

It is a good idea to let someone review your research paper at each stage of its development. In fact, some instructors will grade you on your research process (not just the end result.) Work through multiple drafts, and clearly document your research, so you can cite your sources in the final paper.

Myths about Distance Learning

All Online or Correspondence Schools are a Scam

Unfortunately, diploma mills do exist — they simply sell degrees to whomever is willing to pay for them, and it is sometimes surprising who's willing to pony up the cash. There are frequent stories in the news about public officials who are found to hold phony degrees. Such schools advertise that they grant "life experience" degrees — in other words, the student can earn a degree without doing any actual work. Those who obtain degrees in this manner are risking their employment and their reputation by doing so.

Distance Learning Programs are Easier than those at Brick-and-Mortar Schools

This depends upon the student, the program, and the school. If a brick-and-mortar school offers both on-campus and distance learning programs, the course work will be the same, just delivered in a different manner.

Numerous research reports, studies, and academic papers suggest there is no significant difference in student outcomes based on the mode of education delivery (face to face or at a distance). In other words, it's not how students learn that is important, but what they learn.

Distance Learning is for Students who can't succeed in a "Real" School

Distance learning students are from all walks of life. In fact, many distance learning students are adults who have already earned an undergraduate degree or credits through classroom learning and have just gone back to school via distance learning to upgrade their skill set or earn a graduate degree. Distance learning courses and programs have prepared many students for graduate studies and increased job opportunities.

Anyone can Succeed in a Distance Learning Course/Program

Distance learning is definitely not for everybody. You might find that distance learning requires more discipline and self-motivation than traditional courses that meet face-to-face.

Before considering a distance learning course, consider the following:

  1. Do you work well unsupervised?
  2. Are you able to stick to a schedule and avoid procrastination?
  3. Can you meet deadlines?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you may want to rethink the distance learning option. While distance learning programs have made great strides to deliver personalized, engaging lessons, it's up to the student to stick to a study schedule, meet their course deadlines, and do large amounts of work independently. Some students find distance learning courses are a very comfortable fit for their lifestyle, while other students need the kind of structure a classroom provides.

The Quality of the Education is lower in Distance Learning Programs

In the early days of online education, it was questioned whether e-learning had the potential to be just as rigorous and effective. A great deal of research has been done in the past decade to illustrate that when it comes to quality, distance learning can stand with the best of them.

Distance learning is no different from any other kind of learning in regards to quality. You are able to learn and progress through a curriculum using electronic media just as effectively as in a traditional classroom setting.

As discussed earlier, brick-and-mortar schools which also offer distance learning programs use the same curriculum and admissions standards whether a student is learning at a distance or not. When issuing degrees or transcripts, those schools don't specify whether the courses were taken online or on campus, because they are the same courses.

Perhaps the most important qualitative indicator that distance learning can be sufficiently rigorous has been the willingness to make use of it of renowned traditional institutions for the quality of the education they provide. When schools such as Harvard University, Duke University, and Pennsylvania State University are offering online learning programs, it's reasonable to conclude that e-learning is a mature, accepted means of obtaining a quality education.

A Distance Learning Degree won't be accepted by Employers

Degrees earned through distance learning are gaining wider acceptance by employers all the time. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to their employees knowing full well that the degrees are being earned online or through other distance learning methods. Brick-and-mortar schools which also offer distance learning programs use the same curriculum and admissions standards whether a student is learning at a distance or not. When issuing degrees or transcripts, those schools don't specify whether the courses were taken online or on campus, because they are the same courses.

Credits Earned via Distance Learning won't transfer to Other Schools

Credit transfer is always left at the discretion of the receiving institution.

A Degree from a Distance Learning School is useless because nobody has heard of the School

There are numerous distance learning programs available today, and students should easily be able to find one that meets their needs. For most employers, the name of the school is irrelevant; the accreditation of the school is what really matters. Many state universities and colleges now offer distance learning programs, so if name recognition is a concern for you, locate a program at a school in your state.

Distance Learning Programs are Overpriced

Distance learning schools have their own unique expenses. Whereas campus schools pay for landscaping, building maintenance, and sports facilities, online schools often pay extra money for student support services and graduation coaches. Both types of colleges regularly raise tuition rates. State colleges and universities usually offer cheaper price tags for in-state residents. But if your state college or university offers online programs too, the price is usually similar for on-campus and online degrees. Some online schools will tack on "technology fees" and proctored examination fees. These are both legitimate expenses that allow students to complete their studies in a convenient format.

It's also important to consider the cost savings that online programs allow. Online students pay zero commuting costs, zero parking fees, and zero childcare costs because they don't have to leave home to attend class.

Distance Learning Students miss out on Interaction with Instructors and Other Students

Again, this depends upon the program and the school. Many distance learning institutions hold "class" via webcams and chat rooms, enabling students to listen to course lectures by instructors and interact with other students. In fact, some distance learning schools mandate that students post to a message board for their class a certain number of times a week. If they don't, they risk getting a lower grade. Group work involving a number of students is also built into the curriculum of some distance learning programs, and the students are graded on their group project.

By comparison, class sizes at many brick-and-mortar institutions are growing. Some classes hold several hundred students, and the classes are increasingly being taught by graduate students, not professors. This certainly reduces the amount of classroom interaction between students and instructors.

Why Should I Choose Online Education?

Why should you study online? What's the advantage? And what's all the fuss? It's hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to online degrees — especially since so much of the published information comes from schools and students, who are usually biased.

The following bullets represent the upsides of online education, traits that are beneficial to various types of learners. If any of these attributes could improve your college experience, you should consider an online degree. Because when all is said and done, the only substantive difference between a campus education and an online education is the building.

Convenience

Online education critics seem to share the idea that "convenient" is a negative word — that anything worth earning should be exhausting and barely manageable. They assume that people who ask about convenience are lazy, or spending all day in their pyjamas. But that's far from true.

The Internet makes it possible to unite students and instructors without long commutes or fixed class schedules. Working professionals can study at night. Stay-at-home parents can study during kids' naptime. Military members can study from any new post to which they are assigned. None of these people are lazy or prone to cutting corners. On the contrary, they are busy, ambitious learners, who simply need a better college design.

And because they are all good candidates for employment, employers are increasingly happy to accept their online credentials.

Access for Rural Students

College students who live in major cities might choose to access campus programs. Thousands of other students simply cannot. Unless you live in a college town, the cost of commuting — in terms of time and fuel prices — can be prohibitive. Twenty years ago, these students would have had to choose between moving their families, or getting by on a high school diploma. Today, online education is removing geographic barriers.

Access for Students with Disabilities

Most traditional college classrooms aren't designed to accommodate students with disabilities. Online classes, by contrast, can be engineered to support students with intellectual and physical disabilities as well people who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and blind/low vision. Likewise, gifted instructors who lose the ability to teach in a traditional classroom can continue their careers, thanks to online functionality.

On Pace with the Future of Education

Education authorities are recognizing the value of online learning. So it's apparent that tomorrow's students will be seeing more e-learning technology.

Soon, more and more colleges will develop online programs to help stretch their budgets and expand their enrolments. Already, major names in traditional education — like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale — are offering online podcasts of course lectures. It may one day be possible for students to choose specific courses from multiple schools, all across the globe, and build their own personalized degrees.

It's never too late or too early

Traditionally, August or September are the months for "Back to School" preparation. Every year, millions of kids and parents welcome the first day of school by shopping for new clothes, new shoes, and backpacks filled with fresh supplies. As moms and dads wave good-bye from the bus stop, many think about going back to school themselves.

One of the greatest benefits of online education is that, in most cases, the "Back to School" vibe is available all year round. Many online schools run on accelerated semester schedules. So you don't have to wait until next August, if you're ready to start school now. In fact, it's never too late or too early to finish what you started.

Pros and Cons of online education

One method to determine how well online learning might work for you is to consider its benefits and disadvantages.

PROS:

  • No time spent commuting/travelling to a campus
  • No additional travel costs to add to the family budget
  • Continue working at your current job while you take classes, thus allowing you to earn a living and gain work experience, applying your course work
  • Your learning options are not constrained by your geographic location
  • You can learn at your own pace and study at your convenience (e.g. after the kids are asleep or before work)
  • If you prefer to express yourself in writing rather than verbally, you may find distance learning more effective
  • Classes typically centred and focused on student responses and virtual discussion rather than instructor-led lectures
  • Instruction and course work can be highly customized to your field and subject
  • Additional benefits of learning new technologies and practicing the use of the Internet, office software, etc.
  • You will meet and work with classmates from all over the world
  • All students are 100 percent equal: your work will stand on merits alone, and you will not be treated differently based upon race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.
  • Requires 100 percent participation from each and every classmate (e.g. the most outgoing students will not monopolize the discussions)

CONS:

  • You must be self-motivated and disciplined to progress through your program in a timely manner
  • At times, you may experience feelings of isolation or a sense of detachment from your school
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction — especially in self-paced courses — or difficulty in developing relationships with classmates
  • You will be required to be able to work unsupervised (i.e. you will have to problem solve solutions independently)
  • Plan and adjust your studying schedule around assignment due dates (e.g. you live in California your final project is due to your instructor at 5 p.m. Eastern time)
  • Students may need to wait for feedback and responses from peers and instructors
  • Equipment needs of students and learning providers (e.g. generally a personal computer, office software, and an Internet connection are required)
  • Budget for additional high-speed Internet costs (if applicable)
  • Need the discipline not to log into your class while at work.
  • Allow for time required to boot up computer, software programs, and connect to the Internet
  • May require you to learn new or enhance computer and troubleshooting skills

Are you suited for online learning?

Earning your degree through distance learning can be a convenient way to go to school, but there's still quite a deal of work involved, and it's not necessarily right for everyone.

For many adult students, it can be difficult to decide between on-campus courses and online courses. (Some of us have not participated in a classroom setting in a decades—how can we know?)

Take into consideration your professional and personal situation (e.g. will you need a baby-sitter for the kids if you attend in-person classes?)

How can you know whether you might benefit from distance learning? Start by reading the following statements and counting the ones with which you agree:

  • You are disciplined and self-motivated.
  • You are comfortable navigating the Internet and using e-mail.
  • You do not have the time to commute to classes and find parking on-campus.
  • There are no traditional colleges or universities located in your area that have the kind of degree or certification that you need.
  • You are able to learn and retain information from reading as equally as You are from listening to students talk in class.
  • The topic you want to study is offered via distance learning or online course.
  • You would like your learning experience to focus on you rather than my instructor's lectures.
  • You are interested in some of the potential advantages of distance learning.
  • An online course or degree program in your field would be accepted or respected.

If you agreed with more than half of the statements above, then distance learning might be a great option for you to further your education.

How your online education will affect your family

Your decisions affect your family. You wouldn't buy a car or plan a vacation without considering household logistics, and your education is even more important than those examples. That's why you need to get your family on board before you start an online degree program. Their support and understanding is crucial to your success.

Without the moral support and day-to-day help of your spouse and children, many adult learners are prone to give up and quit. It's truly a team effort.

Before you sign up for an online course draft a list of thinking points and discuss them with your family. The tone of the discussion should be calm and open. Make sure everyone's ideas are heard, and don't hog the spotlight. Even though college is a huge event in your life, your kids and your partner still need to feel valued. Tell them you'll need their input and editing help when you're writing a paper. And remember to express your thanks for their cooperation.

Why you are going back to school.

Outline your choice in specific terms. Avoid generic statements, like "school is important," or, "I'm doing this because I want to." You might want to mention the kind of job or promotion that a new degree can yield. Without promising unrealistic figures, you might also want to explain how your earning potential and job security will improve. Consider the issue from the perspective of your spouse and children, and discuss the impact of your decision in the short term and the long run.

Why an online degree makes sense for you and your situation.

You chose online learning for a variety of reasons. Distance learning is flexible, convenient, and proven to be as effective (if not more so) as classroom learning. Despite all the benefits of distance education, anticipate a level of scepticism. Describe some of your initial concerns about online education and discuss how you decided on an online degree. Check that you have conducted careful research into the different educational options available to you.

Discuss the impact of tuition on the family budget.

Be up front in talking about how you will pay for college. Consider if financial aid and grants are available. Check your employer's tuition reimbursement program. Your education is essentially an investment in the entire household. If some corners are to be cut, be fair and show how do it.

Tell your family how they can help you succeed.

Establish ground rules for your study time. You will need more than just the time you spend accessing your online class. Budget for homework, reading your textbooks, writing papers or replying to discussion board postings. Set reasonable expectations for your study hours. Be prepared to consistently enforce these rules until the new family routine is firmly in place.

Estimate a timeline of goals and hurdles.

Both kids and adults respond well to timelines, rather than open-ended periods of change. Even though you can't promise when you'll graduate, you can provide a reasonable estimation, including the number of classes involved, and the number of weeks each class spans. Let family members share in the excitement of your progress. You might plan to celebrate the completion of each course with a special family event - like a pizza party or a picnic.

How can you be sure a college is right for you?

  • Are there any prerequisites or entrance criteria necessary for new students?
  • How will your work be evaluated?
  • How do the costs compare to other learning options?
  • Does the curriculum reflect your learning needs or goals?
  • How many weeks does each course last? Is this an accelerated program or traditional semester length?
  • Is the delivery method synchronous, asynchronous, self-paced or other?
  • Is financial aid available at this school?
  • Have you considered what you intend to do with the degree once you graduate?
  • Do you know if this school/degree/program will enable you to meet your goals?
  • Do you have a budget or know what amount of tuition you can afford?
  • Do you have personal scheduling considerations?
  • Have you spoken with those already working within the profession you are aspiring to enter or move up within? What do they have to say?
  • Are you going to be employed part-time or full-time while a student?
  • What are your familial obligations? Can you sacrifice time away from your family to learn and if so, how much?
  • Do you have the support of your family and does everyone have realistic expectations as to what will be required of you?
  • Do you want to attend school at an accelerated pace, full-time, or part-time?
  • How much education do you currently have? How many transfer credits, etc.?

Hardware & Software you'll need for e-Learning

If you're new to e-learning and the digital age, you might be concerned about the technical requirements. How much equipment will you need, and how will you learn to use it?

Don't worry! Today's technology is fast and user-friendly. Just like email and texting, you'll get the hang of it in no time. Plus, many online colleges offer tech support hotlines and student communities for questions about technology.

Beyond the very basic materials (a computer and a high-speed Internet connection), your online college will determine which tools and programs you'll use. Different students need different equipment.

Before you run out and buy everything on this list, check with an enrolment advisor at your college. Some schools provide students with all the necessary software (and even a laptop, in some cases), as part of their tuition cost.

Basic Hardware You May Need

Recent Computer

You'll need a computer that has plenty of memory and hard drive. There's no official quota when it comes to RAM (random access memory) or CPU speed, but experts say that a post-2000 processor (e.g. Pentium IV or Celeron II) would be sufficient, along with at least 512 megabytes of memory. Most computers purchased within the last 7 or 8 years will meet these requirements.

Monitor

A large screen (15 inches or more) is also helpful. In order to fit everything in the screen, mini-laptop owners may have to reduce the viewing size to an eye-straining degree.

Microphone/Speakers/Headset

You'll need to have speakers and a sound card installed in your computer, in order to hear audio clips and files. If you already have speakers, it's worthwhile to invest in a good headset, so you can listen privately. A microphone lets you participate in audio chats via and also allow you to record audio files and post them later.

Printer / Scanner / Camera

It's a good idea to purchase a printer and/or a scanner, even though you may not use these items for every course.

A digital camera or any other way to take and send pictures is also interesting.

Basic Software You May Need

Operating System

An up-to-date operating system is a requirement for many online programs. Windows XP, 2000, NT, or 98 are usually acceptable. For Mac users, you will need System 8.1 or higher.

E-mail Address

First of all, you will need a computer with internet connection so you can communicate with your tutor sending and receiving emails. E-mail is one tech component that's free. Most students have their own private e-mail account through Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or otherwise. If you don't, set one up. You may also need to set up a school-based e-mail account at your new college.

Remember that email communications are, for all purposes, confidential, particularly communication between students and teacher.

Word processor, Spreadsheet...

For word processing and data analysis projects, you'll need programs that can create text documents and spreadsheets to make calculations and other common software (Adobe reader, etc.).

For those purposes we use Microsoft Office which is the most common suite for this purposes, but you can also use OpenOffice which is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It can read and write files from other common office software packages and best of all, it can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

Plug-ins (Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, Real Player, etc.)

Some version of a media player or flash player is necessary for streaming videos. And Adobe Reader is necessary for opening PDF files. These programs are usually free and easy to download. Your instructor can advise you on these and other necessary plug-ins.

Specialty Software You May Need

  • Audio Recording Software (Garageband, Audacity)
  • Math/Engineering Software (Wolfram, etc.)
  • Graphics Editing Software (Corel Draw, Picasa, etc.)


 

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