Test Files in Your Computer
In order to study the online Japanese language materials for the JA 101 and 102 courses, you need to be able to play certain types of files. If you can only access the course from school, and they do not allow you to open MP3 files, video files (Quicktime in the kanji websites we link to), PowerPoint presentations, PDF files or email and web conferencing, you should probably drop this course and get a refund. These files and voice chat and email access are MANDATORY. Below are some example files you can open to see if your computer is in working order. The University of Alabama almost exclusively uses PCs, so you can ask Laurie-sensei tech questions related to that, but she does not know much about Mac OS! If you REALLY have trouble setting up your computer, you can email the College of Continuing Studies' tech staff (they work for us) at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org and their email link is also available to students in eLearning.
Being able to read Japanese Font is mandatory, and being able to type in Japanese (in emails and in the Discussion forums) is highly recommended. Since this is rather complicated, there is a separate page to help you with this. Go back to the Reading and Typing in Japanese link on the home page or go directly to the link here.
Next, run through this list of file types to see if they work. If not, the appropriate download website links are provided.
1. MP3 files: These are used in the audio portion of your Student Activity Manual (SAM) workbook called the "Lab Manual." There isn't a CD for you to buy to accompany the SAM, the MP3 files are uploaded online for you in Nihongo Web. You can right click and save them to your mobile devices to practice anywhere too! We use these files instead of WAV files because they take less time to download (they are much smaller files). Open the file below here to test it. If it doesn't work, there are some website links to help you. Remember that to play MP3 files in Nihongo Web you do not need to purchase anything (besides your computer, which I hope you already have)!
Test mp3 file: Pronunciation Practice (from the workbook)
2. PowerPoint Presentations: These are used during your live tutoring sessions with the instructor or Japanese tutors. You will follow along and go through the pages to practice grammar and vocabulary. Your instructor, Laurie Arizumi, has created PowerPoints for each Chapter focusing on the important parts. You may ask questions in English and use these to help you study for tests and oral quizzes. You only need to view the ppt file, you do not need to create PowerPoints. The PPT Viewer is a free download. Let's see if your computer already has it.
Test PowerPoint file: Introduction to Kanji
Microsoft PPT Download Center
3. PDF (Portable Document Format) files: Your proctor must be able to open and print these files for your written tests. You need to be able to open and read them too for the syllabus and some other study materials online. They are the preferred document in eLearning when using non-English fonts. Making PDF files requires expensive software, but the reader/viewer is a free download.
Test PDF file: click to open and read.
Download the Acrobat Reader if that didn't work.
4. QuickTime Video files: The animated kanji movies to show you stroke order come from MIT. Although it's not mandatory to open these files because your textbook provides stroke orders, these files are great! Other websites may use QuickTime video as well. It may be a simple matter of just telling your computer to allow these types of files to run. They end in the extension .mov
Play a QuickTime Video: Kanji stroke order for Gaku (it has sound too)
If that doesn't work you may need to download the free Quicktime player from Apple: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
5. Flash files: If you play games at all on the Internet you probably have already been prompted to download the Flash player. Since this is widely used across the Internet, if you come to a website that has a Flash document and your computer is not set up to play the file, you will be prompted.
Here is a website that uses Flash: http://www.hellonavi.com/foldera/html/japanese.html Just choose a topic you like from the menu on the left, and then click on any picture square to hear a short dialog and see an animation or demonstration (such as number 3 - How to use a Japanese toilet!!!).
6. eLearning - Java: All students are given access to eLearning once they enroll. This is a Blackboard product which used to be called WebCT. Important documents related to the course are in your eLearning website such as the "How to do this course" document, the syllabus/contract, and your Lesson Plan. We do not use all the functions within eLearning, just these: MyGrades (for you to privately check your test scores etc. online), Discussions (the forum where you will post some assignments that others can read and comment on), Announcements, Assessments (self-check quizzes for you to test your knowledge on your own), and Email. You can also safely chat with your classmates within eLearning if you like. This will require you to install Java properly on your computer. Here is the Continuing Studies department's instructions: http://www.uaonline.ua.edu/e_learning_tutorials/java.htm