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Digital Literacy 

Getting Started

Updated: October 1, 2007

Getting started with Digital Literacy is easy. Just follow these three steps, and you'll be on your way!


Step 1: Determine Your Internet Connection

Before you can take a Digital Literacy e-learning course or assessment, you need to know if your computer meets the system requirements and what kind of Internet connection you have, if any. The type of Internet connection you have will determine how you access the Digital Literacy Curriculum.

Broadband
A broadband connection is a fast connection to the Internet through a cable modem, a corporate network, or a DSL service. If you have a broadband connection, you can complete the e-learning courses and assessments online, while connected to the Internet.

Dial-up or modem (56K or faster)
If you do not have a broadband connection, you can use a modem (called a dial-up connection) to download the e-learning course to your computer. You have a modem if you have to connect your phone directly to your computer and you hear a connection that sounds like the computer is dialing a phone number. If possible, use a 56K or faster modem. If you have a dial-up connection, the online courses will be too slow. You will have a better experience if you download the e-learning courses to your computer, where you can take them without being connected to the Internet. (You will still need to connect to the Internet to take the assessments and the Certificate Test.)

No Internet connection
If you do not have an Internet connection, you will need to access the curriculum through an approved learning center. Learning centers have labs and instructors, and they offer many classes that can give you access to the curriculum. For a list of learning centers near you, send an e-mail message to upinfo@microsoft.com.


Step 2: Choose a Curriculum Version

The following questions can help you determine which version of Digital Literacy to use.

Are you using the 2010 Microsoft Office system and Windows 7?
If you are using these software versions, you will find Digital Literacy version 3 has the most to offer you. While it still teaches information and communications technology (ICT) skills in the generic sense, it demonstrates concepts by using screen shots and examples from the products and technologies in the 2010 Microsoft Office system and Windows 7.

View the topics covered in the Standard curriculum version 3

Are you using the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista?
If you are using these software versions, you will find Digital Literacy version 2 has the most to offer you. While it still teaches information and communications technology (ICT) skills in the generic sense, it demonstrates concepts by using screen shots and examples from the products and technologies in the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista.

View the topics covered in the Standard curriculum version 2

Are you using Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP?
If you are using these software versions, you will find the original version of Digital Literacy has the most to offer you. While it still teaches ICT skills in the generic sense, it demonstrates concepts by using screen shots and examples from the products and technologies in Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP.

View the topics covered in the Standard curriculum original version

Are you entirely new to computers?
If you are a are a bit shy about working with a computer and are using a computer for the very first time, the Microsoft Digital Literacy Basic Curriculum (available in English only at this time) helps teach you how to begin to use a computer.

View the topics covered in the Basic curriculum

Have you mastered the essential skills in the Digital Literacy Standard Curriculum?
If you have mastered the essential computing skills in the Digital Literacy Basic and Standard curricula, the Advanced curriculum provides courses that explore core concepts in more depth.

View the topics covered in the Advanced curriculum

What if I don’t use Microsoft products, or have older versions installed?
Since Digital Literacy simulates software user environments, pedagogically, it doesn’t require a specific application software or operating system to be installed for use. However, the practice exercises in the instructor’s manual assume that students have access to Office and Windows. Instructors report that greater retention of ICT concepts occurs when students are able to reinforce learning with hands-on practice.

The only software required to run either version of Digital Literacy is a minimum of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, which is available to users of Windows XP Service Pack 2(SP2) and later. The curriculum also works with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. If you plan to use the Microsoft Word download versions of the curriculum, you must have Microsoft Word 2002 or later installed.

Link to complete system requirements

Link to Instructor’s Manual download


Step 3: Choose a Course

The following questions can help you determine which Digital Literacy courses to take.

Are you a complete beginner?
If you're new to computing, start with Basic curriculum and proceed to the Computer Basics course in the Standard curriculum. After you complete the e-learning, take the Computer Basics assessment. The assessment generates a personalized Learning Plan that identifies the e-learning lessons you will want to review for complete topic mastery. Review the lessons in your Learning Plan, and then take the assessment again. You can review course lessons and take the assessment as many times as you need to. When you're satisfied with your results, you can take any of the other e-learning courses, in any order.

Do you have some computer experience?
Depending on your level of experience, you may or may not need to take the Basic curriculum or the Computer Basics course in the Standard curriculum. To decide, look at the list of topics covered in the course. If you need to review some topics, start with the Computer Basics Assessment to create a personalized Learning Plan to help you focus on the topics you haven't yet mastered. Complete the e-learning lessons outlined in your Learning Plan, and then take the assessment again to verify that you have mastered all the topics. After you're satisfied with your results, or if you're confident you already know the information covered in the Computer Basics course, you can take any of the other e-learning courses, in any order. Use the assessments to create a personalized Learning Plan for each course, so you can skip topics you have already mastered and focus on the ones that are new to you.

View the topics covered in the Basic curriculum

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (original version)

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (version 2)

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (version 3)

View the topics covered in the Advanced curriculum

Are you ready to take the Digital Literacy Certificate Test?
If you have completed all five courses, or if you are confident that you have the knowledge and skills to pass the test, you can take the online Certificate Test. The Certificate Test will ask you questions on topics from all of the five courses. To prepare for the test, you may want to take the assessment for each course to review the concepts and skills covered in the courses. When you pass the Certificate Test, you will be able to print out a personalized Digital Literacy Certificate.

Are you interested in learning specific skills?
If you are interested in learning specific skills, you can focus on just the course topics you're interested in. Identify the skills you want to work on in the list of course topics for the appropriate course. When you launch the e-learning, you can go to the specific lessons you want. If you take the course assessment, it will include questions from all of the lessons within the e-learning course, not just the lessons you reviewed. Taking the assessment is a good way to validate your breadth of knowledge on the topic.

View the topics covered in the Basic curriculum

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (original version)

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (version 2)

View the topics covered in each Standard curriculum course (version 3)

View the topics covered in the Advanced curriculum


Step 4: Launch the Curriculum

It is easy to launch or download the e-learning courses and take the assessments. Now that you know what type of Internet connection you have and which courses you want to take, just follow the instructions below to access your course. Then follow the instructions in the e-learning course to start learning. Give it a try!

Launch the curriculum by using a broadband connection

1.

Go to the Basic Curriculum page or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (original version) or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 2) or
Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 3) or Go to the Advanced Curriculum page

2.

Find the course you want to take, and then click Launch e-learning or Launch assessment under Online Options.

3.

Follow the instructions on your screen to complete the e-learning.

Launch the curriculum by using a dial-up connection

1.

Go to the Basic Curriculum page or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (original version) or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 2)or
Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 3) or Go to the Advanced Curriculum page

2.

Find the course that you want to take, and then click Download e-learning under Offline Options.

3.

Follow the instructions on your screen to download the e-learning course to your computer. A shortcut to the course will appear on your computer desktop.

4.

Double-click the shortcut to the course on your desktop to launch the course and complete the e-learning.

    Get help finding the downloaded file on your computer

Use the Microsoft Word version of the curriculum

1.

Go to the Basic Curriculum page or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (original version) or Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 2)or
Go to the Standard Curriculum page (version 3) or Go to the Advanced Curriculum page

2.

Find the course you want to take, and then click Download Microsoft Word version under Offline Options.

3.

Follow the instructions on your screen to download the Word document to your computer. A shortcut to the document will appear on your computer desktop.

4.

Double-click the shortcut to the course on your desktop to open the document. You can read it on your computer or print it out.

    Note: You will need Microsoft Word to use these files.

    Why would I want to download the Microsoft Word version of the course?

    If you have problems launching the curriculum, review the frequently asked questions or talk to your instructor.

    Get answers to frequently asked questions about the Digital Literacy Curriculum


System Requirements

The Digital Literacy Curriculum requires the following minimum system configuration:

Hardware

        Personal computer with a 233–megahertz (MHz) or higher processor

        256 megabytes (MB) of RAM or more recommended

        2 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space

        Non-ISA network adapter, 10/100 megabits per second (Mbps)

        4-MB video adapter

        Super VGA (SVGA) monitor (17 inch)

        Keyboard and pointing device (such as a mouse)

        Sound card with amplified speakers or headphones

Hardware (for installations of Windows Vista Home Basic)

        Personal computer with a 1-gigahertz (GHz) or higher processor

        512 megabytes (MB) of system memory

        20 gigabytes (GB) hard drive with 15 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space

        Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory

        DVD-ROM drive

        Audio output

        Internet access (fees may apply)

        Super VGA (SVGA) monitor (17 inch)

        Keyboard and pointing device (such as a mouse)

        Sound card with amplified speakers or headphones

Software

        Windows® XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or later, with the latest hotfixes and software updates

    Note: If the Windows XP CD does not have SP2 on it, you can download SP2 from the Windows Update site after you have installed Windows XP. Hotfixes and software
    updates can also be downloaded from the Windows Update site.

    Go to Windows Update

Internet Connection

        A continuous broadband connection is required for the online e-learning courses.

        A reliable 56K or faster dial-up connection or a broadband connection is required for downloading the offline versions of the e-learning courses. No connection is required to
         play these on your computer.

        A reliable 56K or faster dial-up connection or broadband connection is required for the assessments and the Certificate Test. (The assessments and the Certificate Test are not
         available in an offline format.)

Pop-Up Blockers

        The e-learning courses and assessments launch in a new window, so you must disable any pop-up blockers you have running in order to view the courses and assessments.




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