Our courses are designed to use basic computer and Internet technologies to link you and your classmates into a unified Virtual Classroom. However, nothing special or exotic will be required for you computer; you will not need anything more than a commonly-available family-type computer (Windows, Apple or Linux). Also, all of our streaming media and most of our web-based application will operate on your iOS or Android mobile device.
You will need a typical broadband Internet connection. The higher your download speed, the better but nothing out of the normal will be required. The average down-stream bandwidth of our students is 1,250-kbps (kilobits per second) and we consider this a nominal speed. Optimal down-stream speed would be anything at 1,500-kbps or higher. However, our streaming media use advanced Adaptive Streaming technology to serve a wide range of connection speeds; our streaming servers will automatically match the size and speed of the video file served to you to your connection speed. The higher your download speed, the better the quality of video you will see. Our video is encoded from 386-kbps to 8,800-kbps in eleven steps.
As a bare-bone minimum, your broadband connection should support streaming of our minimum video speed of 386-kbps. If you are unsure of the speed of your connection, you can use our bandwidth tester. Also, if you will be working behind a corporate firewall, we must have certain ports open in order to stream our media through your firewall. If you are unsure of what ports are opened, you can use our port tester.
If you are a rural user using one of the consumer satellite or a long-haul wireless internet service providers, please see our special note at https://www.transformingthechurch.org/pages/internet_service_providers. We can likely still support this type of connection by providing "progressive-download" versions of our media. Please contact us so we can accommodate your needs.
We cross-browser test our website across the five web browsers with the highest market share: Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. You can also potentially use other browsers without issues but we might not have tested with non-listed browsers.
All of the software technologies that you will need are embedded into the web pages of our courses; there is nothing additional that you will need to purchase and install. You should have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Accessing all of our course content materials as well as all interactions among you, your classmates and instructors will take place through interactive multimedia components built into the web pages that make up our courses and the entire learning community.
All of our courses are designed to be used successfully by ordinary people without exceptional computer skills. If you are comfortable with being able to log into websites, navigate web pages, and view media on-line, you will do very well in any of our courses.
If you ever have technical problems, our Technical Support staff is here to help you including support technicians that are available on-call during after-hours times and the weekends.