In simple technical terms, ASCENT is a safe website. It's hosted and maintained on our servers, so you don’t need to install or configure anything.
Your I.T. department may ask for the Specifications or System Requirements before you buy it, so here you go….
- Basically, any computer that can be used for web
- Windows: 98, ME, XP, 2000, Vista, etc.
- Mac OS: 9.1 or higher
- Any other operating system capable of graphical web browsing
- Generally functional with most web capable devices like Blackberry, Palm, etc. ASCENT is not currently optimized for these and we do not provide tech support for use on these, but clients have told us they have used these devices successfully with ASCENT
- Suggested minimum display: 1024 x 768, thousands of colors
- 56 kb/s dial-up minimum
- If you put items into your course content pages larger than about 50 kb in size (ie: videos), we recommend users have a high speed (250 kb/s or higher) internet connection. Otherwise it's a non-issue.
Internet Explorer 5.1 or higher, including IE 7
To get the most out of ASCENT, each user should have an e-mail account of their own.
if your company does not provide these to staff, users can get free e-mail accounts like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo.
Users can still use the system without e-mails, but some features will not be usable like:
- Receiving completion certificates
- E-mail coach
- Reminders and due dates
- Receiving notices of memos
Hard drive space required: 0
RAM memory: Enough to effectively run your web browser.
Network / Firewall Settings:
Generally, no special firewall or network settings required. If you experience any problems viewing content then having the network administrator enter the ASCENT domain as an allowed website should fix any problem.
Network must allow whatever course content objects you put in (ie: .swf, .mov, etc.). Generally, almost all content is usually HTML with .jpg or .gif images.
No part of ASCENT requires any software or applets to be downloaded to any user’s computer.
All content created in the system is in HTML. This applies to every course page, every question in reviews and quizzes, every survey, every memo, and every definition in the glossary.
The types of content objects supported by ASCENT include:
.png (but may not be compatible with all web browsers)
.mov and .wmv can be inserted anywhere in content or questions using standard HTML embed code, or by point-and-click using via separate Content – Multimedia pages.
We highly recommend converting all video to Flash (like on YouTube, CNN, etc.). Video clips less than about one minute long can be .swf. Longer videos should be .flv (Adobe Flash software required) for maximum performance.
Videos in Flash .swf format can be inserted anywhere in content, questions, or memos using the Insert Flash toolbar button.
.wav and .mp3 can be inserted using basic HTML embed code.
We recommend converting to Flash .swf files, which can then be inserted in content via the toolbar button.
Animations, simulations, etc. are best delivered as Flash / Shockwave (.swf) objects. These can be inserted anywhere in content with a toolbar button.
A special Content – Multimedia Item page can be used to put a PowerPoint in course content. This converts the PPT to a Web PowerPoint Viewer format which utilizes the PPT viewer plugin in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and higher on Windows. This will not function in any other browser.
We recommend converting PPTs to our normal (HTML) course pages of text and images, or to Flash objects. There are numerous options and tools available for dealing with PowerPoint files. We provide users with details and explain these options in the System Training.
All generated data (user data, records, etc.) is in mySQL database format. This is a universal database language. The database can be changed to a preferred format.
Applets and Cookies:
No applets are downloaded to any user's computer for any function.
The only cookies created by the system are web-typical expiring session cookies to maintain login integrity during the user's session.
The system is hosted at one of the world's largest web applications hosting companies, located in the U.S. They host hundreds of thousands of businesses including banks. Their premises are top-notch secure with multiple security and power redundancies.
All access to the system is via a username and password.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) login is available for a nominal annual fee.
The system is database based, so all data in the system is retrieved via a database function, and is not sitting in web pages where it can be accessed by search engines and spiders.
OTHER USEFUL SOFTWARE:
For those who are developing courses in the system, we recommend the following:
For formatting and optimizing photos and other graphics:
Microsoft Office Picture Manager (almost all Windows computers have this), PhotoShop, ImageReady, Illustrator, etc.
For creating animations and simulations, and to convert video to .swf and .flv formats:
Adobe Flash Professional
For writing out course content:
For further information, contact Aerostudies.