Hardware / SoftwareThe system configurations listed
below describe the minimum hardware and software set needed to
successfully access a Northern Star Online course site and take part in
class chat sessions. Most of the required software, with the exception
of the computer's operating system, can be downloaded free of charge
over the Internet.
- A Macintosh computer running OS 8.6 or higher (9.1 or higher strongly recommended)
- a PC-compatible computer, Pentium II (266 MHz) or better, running Win95/98 or higher
- Microphone and speakers (or headset) providing Audio In and Out capability*
- an Internet connection (56K modem, cable modem, or DSL)
- 128 MB's of installed RAM (more RAM is strongly recommended on both platforms)
- Hard disk space for downloading files and work in progress
Some courses may hold chat sessions in a chatroom that allows the
instructor and students to talk to each other via microphones and
- Microsoft Internet Explorer v5
or higher is recommended for full access to course materials.* Internet
Explorer can be freely downloaded from Microsoft
(http://www.microsoft.com/downloads). Choose the version of Internet
Explorer appropriate for your platform and operating system -- Mac or
- Java for Mac OS
-- Macintosh computers may need to install MRJ 2.2.5 or higher for Java
compatibility. Search your System Folder Extensions for the MRJLib file
and "Get Info" to find out what version is already installed on your
computer. If you need to install or upgrade, you can download the
appropriate files from Apple.
- QuickTime v5.0
or higher -- required for displaying multimedia Web content. A free
version of QT can be downloaded from Apple.
- Flash Player
-- may be needed for some multimedia Web content. The latest version of
the Player can be downloaded from Macromedia.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0
or higher -- useful for viewing many of the course documents. The
Reader is a free download from Adobe.
(http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html) Note: If you use
a "reading" browser that can not read PDF files, please notify the
HopOn Technical Coordinator so that accessible documents can be made
available for you.
- WebStart or WebLauncher
-- these programs run the software necessary to access the required
online chat sessions. You will be given detailed instructions for
downloading and installing this program during your online Student
Orientation activities. Macintosh computers running OS 10.1 or higher
already have WebStart installed as part of the system software.
- Other software
-- such as a word-processing program or plug-ins for your browser, may
be required by individual courses for completing course assignments.
Students should check with the course instructor for details.
Word-processing programs must be able to save and open Text (.txt or
ASCII) and/or RTF file formats for document sharing with the course
Netscape Navigator, Opera, or other Web browsers can also be used to
access online course materials. However, under some conditions,
browsers other than Internet Explorer may not provide full
functionality. We do the best we can to test and troubleshoot in a
variety of different browsers, but can not guarantee that your
particular configuration of hardware and software will work in all
- An active email account is required at the time of course registration.
- A separate student email address, rather than one shared with other family members, is strongly recommended. Email accounts can be set up through hotmail, msn, gmail, yahoo or other sources. It is important to check with your school as to the policy for student access of personal email at school.
are expected to provide and maintain their own access to the Internet,
either through a dial-up or direct-connect Internet service provider.
speed: A 56K-modem is sufficient to access all course material and
participate in online chat sessions. A cable-modem, DSL, or T1
connection is strongly recommended.
will be your responsibility to choose the Internet Service Provider
(ISP) or Internet Access Provider (IAP)* that best fits your needs and
budget. Some providers may require the display of advertising, or allow
sending "junk mail" to their users. Please read any Terms of Agreement
carefully before accepting service. Northern Star Online does not
promote or recommend any specific provider.
Note: Some Internet Access Providers (IAP's) such as AOL, Prodigy, and
CompuServe use internal Web browsers that are customized versions of
Internet Explorer. They may have difficulty accessing all the necessary
components of your online course site. It is strongly recommended that
you install a full copy of Internet Explorer on your home computer to
access your online course material. The connection to the Internet is
made through your IAP and then the full version of Explorer is run,
rather than using the Web browser that is a part of the IAP software.