"How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to improve these guidelines please me at e-mail hrallis@d.umn.edu.

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Browser Test for Students Considering Online Courses

[This test is adapted from and used with permission from Kathy Heltzer (UMD Social Work Department)]

You will need certain tools, such as an up-to-date web browser or a media player, to make the best use of your online courses. This Browser Test contains a few quick tests to make sure your browser can handle the demands of online learning.

Browser Version

If you are using a current browser version, you will not see a message immediately below this paragraph and before the heading "Plug-ins". In which case, you have a web browser that is adequate for your class. If you DO see a message about using an older browser, please follow one of the links and upgrade your software.

You are using an older browser which may not support many of the visual display elements used by your professor and the rest of the UMD web site. Please upgrade your browser at one of the links below.

If you need to upgrade your browser version, you may do so free by clicking on your browser of choice from UMD Software downloads.


Plug-ins are small "helper" programs that are often used to present users with web-based interactive content. This section of the test will help determine if you have the plug-ins needed to run sections of your instructor's online course and determine if they are up-to-date.


Check to see if you can view Quicktime movies: Click here

If you do not hear music and see a blue Q drawn, you need to download and install the Quicktime movie player from Apple at: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/products/qt/

Windows Media Player

Check to see if you can view movies using Windows Media Player movie: Click here

If you do not see a short movie of a child coming down a slide, you need to download and install the Windows Media Player at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/ Choose the version that is appropriate for your computer and operating system.

RealOne Player

To try start a short sample of a RealOne movie, go to RealOne's RealAudio and RealVideo Test Clips site. Choose one of the audio or video clips, based on if you are on a dial-up or broadband connection. If you are unable to see or hear any of the demo clips, you should download the free player, as indicated below.

Download the free player by going to: http://www.real.com/realoneplayer.html Watch carefully which link you choose - make sure it is the FREE player and not Real Player Plus.

Adobe Reader

Check to see if you can download and open an article in PDF format using Acrobat Reader: Click here

If you are not able to access this file, you can download the FREE reader from Adobe at: www.adobe.com


If you can see today's date and a motivational quote, you have Javascript enabled.

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