MATC students are highly motivated self-starters with strong communication and time management skills. While many students might describe themselves as “tech savvy”, being a superuser of technology is not a requirement of the program. You must have access to and be comfortable using basic technologies – like email, content management systems and videoconferencing – to be successful in online courses. Here is a list of tools and services that our students use to help manage their academic lives.
The only firm technical requirement of the MATC program is that you have access to a high-speed Internet connection where you plan to complete your coursework throughout each 15-week semester.
In general, the operating system (PC, Macintosh, etc.) your computer uses, as well as what version of that operating system is installed, is not important, but you need to have a computer with enough RAM to run several programs at once.
One issue with working so much on your computer is that it can, at times, betray you. There are a few strategies to avoid losing your work, and your mind, if your computer fails.
- Periodically, and especially after huge bouts of progress, email the document to yourself or upload it to the cloud (e.g. Dropbox).
- Work in an online processor (e.g. Google Docs).
Webcam & Microphone
We strongly suggest you purchase a webcam and microphone if they are not built into your computer. These are necessary for various course assignments and for videoconferencing (via Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Adobe Connect) with classmates and instructors.
Tablets (e.g. iPad)
You may choose to work on MATC classes from an iPad or comparable tablet. Tablets are best used for reading PDFs and other materials, and offer a welcomed break from reading in large amounts at your computer. While the learning management system functions much the same as it does in a browser, we do not recommend using tablets for extensive coursework or discussion interactions. Also, we do not recommend using smartphones for accessing or completing coursework.
A screencast is a digital recording of your computer screen, or, in other words, a video screen shot. Screencasts are very helpful in demonstrating a task, tool or solution to a problem. Screencast-o-matic and Jing are simple, free applications that allow you to take a picture or short video of what you see on your screen, narrate it, then share that content instantly.
All Things Google
Google offers many useful tools for managing coursework and teamwork.
- Google Hangouts and Google Plus for meeting online when working in teams.
- Google Drive (aka Google Docs) for hosting and sharing files. Also good for collaborative writing, which is very helpful for group work.
- Google Calendar for reminders and sharing schedules and events.
Cloud storage applications like Dropbox, ADrive.com and Box let you host and share your files easily. These services allow you to access your files anywhere and are great for transferring large files between parties.
Evernote & Skitch
Evernote (https://evernote.com) helps you save things—notes, web clips, files, URLs and images. It is a good place to collect and organize data and imagery and its uses are far-reaching—from bibliography-building to keeping track of lists and to-dos. It can also be very helpful for making PDFs searchable.
Skitch (http://evernote.com/skitch) is an annotation app that helps you capture, edit and markup screenshots and images with shapes and comments.