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Online courses

SEI online courses cover the same topics as the face-to-face workshops of the similar name, but do not include a hands-on component.  You can log on at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the full duration of the specified course.  You will generally need between 10-20 hrs/week to complete the lesson materials and graded activities. The earlier lessons generally take less time than the later lessons.  Students can access the course anytime, from any computer with an internet connection (see computer requirements below).  There are no specific times that you need to log on, the course is self paced but you must finish all graded materials by the end date of the course.  The live instructors are there to give feedback, grade your work and you can contact them with questions on the forum discussion boards, or by email.  
These courses include interactive activities, power points, readings and quizzes, and exercises and homework to test student comprehension. There is also a forum where students can post questions to the instructors and network between each other.  Online courses last six (6) weeks and will end on the Sunday night of the last week.  All graded course activities (e.g., quizzes, forum discussion assignments, any other assignments with a score) need to be completed within these 6 weeks, with a 70% or better cumulative grade, to pass and receive a Record of Completion.  After the course end-date, you will have two additional weeks for instructorless review-only time. During this time you will not be able to complete any graded activities. However, this is an ideal time to finish saving and reviewing any course materials of particular interest. 
All required reading for the course is fully downloadable from within the course, so there is no need to wait for your course materials to arrive in the mail. You can also download/save the PDF files that make up the "Digital Course Notebook" for future reference.
Students can also receive college credit towards a renewable energy certificate through Madison Area Technical College for all of our online courses (see for more details).

The following are the computer and software requirements for taking SEI's online courses.

Computer and Internet Requirements

The following are the computer and software requirements for taking this course. 

Laptop and Desktop Platforms

  • PC (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8)
  • Mac (Intel-based only, OSX 10.5 or later)
  • Hardware / Internet Requirements
  • Minimum screen / monitor resolution is 1280 x 600
  • 256 MB of RAM, 2 GB of free disk space
  • Computer microphone or regular telephone for Webinar or Live Office Hours participation
  • Built in sound or sound card
  • High-speed Internet connection (at least 5 Mb download speed —  click here to check your speed)
  • Latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari
  • Latest version of Microsoft Sllverlight
  • Enabled cookies, javascript, Java, pop-ups

Special Considerations

1) Satellite, cellular 3G/4G cards, mesh wide area networks, and other similar "non-copper" or non WI-FI connections, while appearing to be high speed, will likely experience performance issues in this course. We do not recommend this type of Internet connection.

2) There are subtle differences among all browsers based on whether using a Windows or Mac computer.

3) The version of your computer's operating system and your browser version can also have an affect on operation.

4) Video buffering problems have been reported in some cases on slow connections.

5) The video/audio Playback Rate speed control dropdown menu is not available/functional using the Chrome browser.

Video and Audio Presentations

The lecture capture presentations are streaming video (just like Netflix® or Hulu® or Amazon®). To adequately view these lecture presentations, a high speed network connection is preferred. We suggest at least 5 Mb/sec. If your connection speed is slow, is unreliable, or if the connection is shared with other active computers or mobile devices (phones or tablets), you may experience less than optimal playback. If this happens, there are a three options: obtain a faster network connection, turn off all active devices other than the device used to view the presentations, download the presentations from Apple iTunes and view from a mobile device or the iTunes app on your computer.

Smart Phone and Tablet Platforms: Apple iOS Devices (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad) and Android Phones & Tablets.

With smart phones/tablets, you can pretty much do anything that can be done on a Mac or PC.

  • Take quizzes
  • Read your textbook ebook version
  • Download PDFs
  • Participate in online forum discussions
  • Check your grade book
  • Complete questionnaires and surveys
  • View video and audio presentations
  • Some performance or access may vary
Required Software

Optional Software