Before you begin working through the course content, you need to make sure the computer you are using is configured properly for the multimedia that you will encounter. Below are specifications and tests to help make sure everything is in working order.
Access to a reliable Internet connection is required for this course. A problem with your Internet access may not be used as an excuse for late, missing, or incomplete coursework. If you experience problems with your Internet connection while working on this course, it is your responsibility to find an alternative Internet access point, such as a public library or Wi-Fi ® hotspot.
Flash movies and Quicktime video
We have Flash movies and Quicktime video material in many of the lessons in this course. Chances are pretty good that you already use a web browser that is configured to open up a Quicktime movie and play swf (Flash) files, but to be safe, here is a "test" file that you should try to make sure you won't have problems later in the course. If these files run smoothly for you, then you're ready to go. If you can't get the file below (4:04) to play on your computer, then please refer to the steps at the bottom of this page to troubleshoot your problem.
Having trouble? Troubleshooting tips...
- Step 1: Install a New Plugin. If you are not able to play the files, start by installing (or reinstalling) the Quicktime plugins. The links here will take you to the respective download sites (and their accompanying directions.)
- Step 2: Request Help. If you still have not had any success, then it's time for you to contact Canvas Support by clicking on the Help button at the bottom left of your Canvas dashboard in the global navigation menu (or the World Campus HelpDesk for World Campus Students). It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance. Try to include information such as:
- the specific course page, quiz question, etc., you were on, what you attempted to do when that failed, and the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen;
- the date and time when your problem occurred;
- any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).
Firefox - version 23: Mixed content
Links to any website outside of your course do not display if you are using the latest version of Firefox - version 23.
Much like a pop-up blocker, because our courses use a secure URL and displays the link inside of the content (e.g., when you are viewing TED or YouTube videos within a course page), Mozilla calls this mixed content and it will NOT display. The new browser's default is to block outside content. To unblock users must click on the small shield displayed to the left of the URL.
Here is a web page that shows this shield and explains this in more detail. If you have questions, please contact the World Campus Helpdesk (for World Campus students) or the ITS Service Desk (for students at all other campus locations).
This course uses a combination of Mathjax and MathML to render mathematical equations (example shown below). The equations should render properly when using a current version of Firefox (as recommended by the Penn State World Campus), Chrome, Safari (Safari version 8 will not render the equations properly), or Opera. Internet Explorer users may need to download the MathPlayer plug-in.
If your browser is unable to render the equations, you should see the following message on screen,
"This equation is not rendering properly. You should be using a current version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Opera. Internet Explorer will require the MathPlayer plug-in."
Note: If you cannot see equations on a lesson page, we have provided links to PDF copies of the page that include the equations.
Access to a spreadsheet analysis program
You will be required to perform some spreadsheet-based analysis in this course. Either a commercial spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, or an open-access program such as Google Spreadsheets, will be sufficient. Please note that you will need to learn how to use your preferred spreadsheet program on your own. I will not provide instruction on using Excel.