Hardware and software you'll need for Nihongo Web

Do you have all the necessary downloads and multimedia functions enabled to use Nihongo Web properly? If you don't know, go back to the Nihongo Web home page and go to the "Test your computer" link. We do not require you to purchase any software for the course -- all of the downloads are free from various websites such as Microsoft and Skype.

You can use any browser you like, but Nihongo Man suggests that you use BOTH Firefox and Internet Explorer for when you run into older games and quizzes on websites that were made with JavaScript templates. If the game or quiz doesn't open in Firefox, use IE. The Blackboard eLearning site runs a little better in Firefox than IE, and some things may work better or worse in Safari or Google Chrome.

Different browsers handle reading Japanese font differently, so here are some links to help you with Japanese language support if the characters are still coming out as "mojibake" on your browser:

Links to help you enable Japanese font reading (unencoding) of web pages:

ETranslate (Windows)
Japanese for your Mac
Windows XP/Vista
Jim Breen: Links for all platforms including Linux

You must have audio speakers for the vocabulary and video listening and speaking practice components, as well as the interactive portions of the course. We use MP3 and MP4 audio files, which will download very quickly without sacrificing quality.  You can listen to MP3s using built-in players in Windows  Windows Media Player, or Mac, you do not need to download any special player. You can copy the audio files in Nihongo Web to your player(s) if you would like to study anywhere at anytime however! Other web sites still use WAV files too. You will also need Quicktime Player for some of the videos (especially the kanji tutorials). Some of the web sites I've linked to may also require RealPlayer for audio or video files. There is a free download called RealPlayer Free, but we rarely use it so you can wait.

We also have some activities made with Flash. Your browser will direct you to the download area.

You must have frequent access to a computer and a private e-mail account! You may not share an email with your facilitator / proctor. Not having computer access will NOT be considered an excuse for not completing assignments. You must drop the course if you cannot have regular Internet access.

The syllabus and other important documents in eLearning and Nihongo Web are in PDF format. You and your proctor MUST have the ability to download and print PDF files. Your proctor must print your tests (which we send to them by email). If you don't have the free Acrobat Reader to open these files, you can download it here: Adobe.com

During tutoring, you will be required to open PowerPoint presentations. You will not be required to CREATE PowerPoints, so all you need is the free PowerPoint Viewer. You and the tutor will go through the Nakama chapter PowerPoints during your live tutoring sessions. There is built-in web conferencing system in eLearning called Live Classroom, but we do not use it. We have found Skype and Windows Live Messenger to be far superior in video quality to what we currently have, and they are free anyway! We suggest you download either of these, and if you are not allowed access at school to any of these kinds of systems you can use Live Classroom (it crashes a lot if you do not have a fast connection speed) or just do your tutoring sessions from home in the evening.

You can send e-mails to sensei and post in the discussion forums of eLearning in Japanese font using a Global Input Method Editor (IME). The IME allows you to enter Japanese characters using a standard U.S. keyboard. When you download it or enable and turn it on (it is most likely already in your computer start-up disk, you just need to select it), you can type in Japanese (may need to choose "Rich text"). You do not need an IME to view Japanese characters in Nihongo Web. You must choose the IME that fits your browser. We all use PCs here in the Japanese department and don't know too much about Mac OS. Here is a website that can hopefully help you: Your Multilingual Mac. It looks a bit complicated for Macs, so here is another site: Typing Japanese on a Mac.

You will need a microphone and headset (to reduce feedback) to do your tutoring by web conference. Sometimes it sounds OK with just a microphone instead of a headset, but there may be feedback. You do NOT need a web camera unless you want to use it.

These are optional but useful: fax machine, printer, scanner.