E-Seminars and E-Courses
Security and Privacy
E-Seminars and E-Courses Q: Are e-seminars or e-courses free to Columbia users? What about non-Columbia users?
A: E-seminars are free to Columbia students, faculty, and staff. Make sure you log in for the first time from a Columbia-network computer or via the dial-in modem pool. The user ID and password you create will then be recognized as valid from any location.
If you are not a member of the Columbia staff, faculty, or student body, but are interested in reviewing our e-seminar library, please register for a free trial subscription at Columbia Educational Resources Online.
E-courses require admission and tuition payment. Please contact e-course program administrators for details.
Note: You cannot log into e-seminars directly with your Columbia UNI. You must register separately for each e-seminar you wish to enter. Q: What do the crown icons stand for?
A: The crown icons represent the following institutions and relationships:
Learning experiences developed by Columbia University. Learning experiences developed by Columbia University in collaboration with an affiliate. Learning experiences developed by Columbia University and Fathom, and hosted by Fathom. Q: What is the difference between a Columbia Interactive e-seminar and an e-course?
A: Columbia Interactive e-seminars are three- to five-hour learning experiences combining multimedia, interactivity, and collaborative discussion. We also offer a number of 30- to 60-minute free e-seminars created in conjunction with Fathom, the online learning Web site founded by Columbia University. Our e-courses are longer, although not necessarily semester-length. Not all are offered for credit. Q: How do I enroll in a Columbia Interactive e-seminar?
A: To enroll in an e-seminar, simply follow the registration process indicated on the seminar detail page. If you need assistance, please contact Columbia Interactive Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not a member of the Columbia staff, faculty, or student body, but are interested in reviewing our e-seminar library, please register for a free trial subscription at Columbia Educational Resources Online. Q: How do I enter an online e-seminar or e-course?
A: Once you enroll, you'll be provided with the course URL, a user ID, and a password. Go to the URL, enter the user ID and password, and you'll be able to access course material—lectures, assignments and interactive tools—on the designated Web site. You may engage in discussions with the instructor and with other students via threaded discussion boards and/or e-mail. The level of interaction depends on the course provider and the professor. Q: My log-in is not working. Help!
A: Your user ID and password are case sensitive. They must be typed exactly as you entered them at enrollment. Also, each e-seminar requires a separate enrollment, even if it is part of a series. You may use the same user ID and password for each e-seminar. If your login is still not working, please e-mail Customer Service at email@example.com with your full name and the name of the e-seminar you are trying to access. Q: What if I've already registered for a Columbia Interactive e-seminar in the past and I want to take a different one? Do I need to register again?
A: Yes, you do, but it's easier the second time. When you are prompted to create your user ID and password for the new e-seminar, you can simply enter the same user ID and password you used for the previous e-seminar. You will not need to submit your personal information (name, e-mail address, etc.) again. If you need assistance, please contact Columbia Interactive Customer Service: firstname.lastname@example.org. Q: How do I enroll in a Columbia Interactive e-course?
A: Most e-courses are hosted on our affiliates' Web sites, including UNext, Cognitive Arts, and Teachers College. Our affiliates handle all aspects of enrollment. To enroll in an e-course, simply follow the checkout processes indicated by UNext, Cognitive Arts, or Teachers College. If you need assistance, please contact them directly. Q: Can I cancel my e-course order once it has been submitted?
A: To cancel an enrollment in an e-course, please check the applicable policies of UNext, Cognitive Arts, or Teachers College. These organizations determine their own cancellation/refund policies. Q: Are there prerequisites for e-seminars and e-courses?
A: Most online seminars and courses are open to people of all ages and levels of education. However, prerequisites are sometimes suggested and occasionally required.
If you are not a member of the Columbia staff, faculty, or student body, but are interested in reviewing our e-seminar library, please register for a free trial subscription at Columbia Educational Resources Online. Q: How long will I have access to an e-seminar after I register?
A: You will have unlimited access to your e-seminar for a period of six months. In some e-seminars, you will be able to download and print a transcript for your permanent library. Q: How do I interact with other students?
A: In many online seminars and courses, you'll communicate with other students via e-mail or threaded discussion boards. Q: How do I take e-course examinations and submit coursework?
A: In most online courses, you'll submit coursework to professors or teaching assistants via e-mail. E-seminars do not normally involve coursework. Q: Do e-seminars and e-courses take place at set dates and times?
A: You can take most e-seminars anytime, starting or stopping whenever you like. Some e-courses are semester-length, with start and end dates. Others are shorter, and are open for enrollment within a specifed time period—usually several weeks to a year. Most e-courses allow you to log in to the course material at your convenience. Please see the individual e-course description for specific details. Q: Can I get credit for enrolling in an e-seminar or an e-course?
A: E-seminars are not offered for credit. For e-courses, credit policies differ among course providers. Depending on the course, you might be able to receive credit, either from Columbia or at another institution. Please read e-course descriptions carefully for specific information. If you have questions, please contact the e-course provider. Q: Does Columbia Interactive review all postings?
A: Yes. Q: What can I do if I find a Columbia Interactive posting objectionable?
A: If you read a comment that you find objectionable, please contact Columbia Interactive and let us know the location and nature of the posting. Columbia Interactive regularly reviews postings on the Discussion Forums, and will remove inconsiderate or offensive postings. If you have concerns of this type, please contact Customer Service at
email@example.com. Q: What is a class Web site? Can I enroll in the class?
A: There are hundreds of class Web sites included in the Columbia Interactive database. These sites were built to complement past classroom-based courses taught at the University. Although Web users cannot enroll in these campus-based courses, we list class Web sites on Columbia Interactive because they contain valuable resources that can help you pursue a topic on your own. Note: students at Columbia may decide to enroll in the classroom course if it is taught again in the future.
back to top
Search Q: What is the difference between a Columbia Interactive search and a Columbia.edu search?
A: When you search Columbia Interactive you are searching the brief entries in our growing database of e-seminars, learning tools, class Web sites, centers and institutes, journals and newsletters, Fathom resources, and more. These resources are handpicked by Columbia Interactive editors. This search will be helpful if you are looking for innovative resources in a specific category.
You may also make use of the pull-down menus on the Columbia Interactive navigation bar to browse items in our database by category. If you would like to see your Web site added to the Columbia Interactive database, please e-mail us at
A Columbia.edu search relies on a sophisticated crawler. This search will be helpful if you need a comprehensive listing of all that Columbia has to offer on a topic of interest. You will find a Columbia.edu search field at the bottom of each search results page. Q: Is the Columbia Interactive search form case sensitive?
A: Search terms in lowercase will match words in any case; otherwise, an exact case match is used. If you want an exact case match, use uppercase; if you want a more general search that is case neutral, use lowercase.
For more information about how to optimize your search results, please visit Inktomi's search tips page.
back to top
A: A cookie is a piece of data stored on a user's own hard drive containing information about the user. Columbia Interactive may employ cookies to recognize you and your access privileges on the Columbia Interactive sites. These cookies keep track of user IDs and passwords, and personalize the Columbia Interactive sites for users. You can set your browser to notify you when you receive cookies, and you may decline to accept them. If you choose not to accept cookies from the Columbia Interactive sites, some parts may function less efficiently.
back to top
Technical Requirements Q: What are the browser and plug-in requirements for viewing the site?
A: The Columbia Interactive site is best viewed with Netscape 4.7 or higher, or Internet Explorer 4 or higher (Internet Explorer 5 or higher for Mac users). However, we don't recommend Netscape 6, which represents a major departure from previous Netscape browsers. As such, the Web pages may not display as intended. These problems should not occur with earlier versions or Netscape 7 or higher, which you can download from the Netscape site.
To experience all the audio, video, and interactive learning tools on the Columbia Interactive site, you'll need to download these plug-ins from the following sites:
RealPlayer: www.real.com (Look for the free RealPlayer.) Flash player: www.macromedia.com/downloads Please note that your browser may already include some of these plug-ins. Q: When I click on links to other Web sites from Columbia Interactive, why do they sometimes load very slowly?
A: A site may load slowly for a variety of reasons, including Internet congestion, slow modems, large graphic files, poor site design, and problematic servers. We link to hundreds of Web sites we do not host, and we cannot control the speed at which these sites load. If you are having persistent problems, you may want to contact the administrator of the site you are trying to access or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Q: How do I view video and/or listen to audio on Columbia Interactive?
A: To experience all the audio and video features on the Columbia Interactive site, you'll need to download the free RealPlayer plug-in, version 7 or higher. To get the plug-in, download now, and look in the fine print for the "Free Player" link. Click on the link and follow the downloading instructions. Long download times (up to a half-hour) may be expected on a 56K modem.
It is not necessary or recommended that you purchase the premium versions of the RealPlayer plug-in that are featured on the RealPlayer site.
Macintosh users browsing with Internet Explorer may experience errors when playing RealPlayer files. You may want to use Netscape 4.7 or higher instead.
Some users may be prompted for log-in. Please enter your e-seminar user ID and password to hear the audio. Real is working to fix this bug. Q: How do I view an interactive learning tool?
A: To view most of the interactive elements on Columbia Interactive, you will need the free Macromedia Flash Player plug-in, version 5 or higher. To download the plug-in, go to the site listed below and follow the downloading instructions.
Flash: www.macromedia.com/downloads Q: How do I listen to sound in my browser?
A: First of all, make sure the volume of your computer is turned on. If it is and you can't hear anything, make sure you have a sound card and speakers. If you have a Mac, they're both built in. If you have a PC, check your computer's documentation. Almost any computer built in the past five years has a sound card. If your machine has a sound card but no speakers you can use a set of headphones from a Walkman or portable CD player—if your computer has a headphone plug-in port. You can find that port on your monitor or the back of your CPU. Note: The headphone jack near CD-ROM drives only works for audio CDs. Q: I'm having trouble printing pages from Columbia Interactive. The right-hand side gets cut off. What should I do?
A: To print, use the browser's "File" menu and select "Print." Alternatively, you may use Ctrl-P on the PC and Cmd-P on the Mac.
If the right-hand side of the page is being cut off, on a Mac you can reduce the print size or, on a PC or Mac, change the layout to "Landscape" following the directions below.
On the Mac: Reduce the print size.
Select "Page Setup" option from the "File" menu.
Click the "100%" next to the "Scaling" option. Change the setting to "90%."
On the PC: Change the layout to landscape format.
Select "Print" from the "File" menu.
If you use Internet Explorer, click on "Layout" and then select "Landscape." If you use Netscape, click on "Properties" and then select "Landscape."
Click "Print" (Internet Explorer) or "OK" twice (Netscape). These new print settings will remain until you close your browser.
On the Mac: Change the layout to "Landscape" format.
Select "Page Setup" from the "File" menu.
Select "Landscape." Q: How do I make the text larger?
A: The target resolution for Columbia Interactive is 800x600 pixels. To change your resolution on a PC, right-click on the desktop and choose "Properties." Then, select the "Settings" tab and change the "Screen Area" slider. To change your resolution on a Mac, select "Control Panels-Monitors" from the Apple menu. Change the selection for the "Resolution." Q: I clicked on a link on Columbia Interactive and I got an error. What happened?
A: While we make every effort to keep links to external sites up-to-date, they may change without our knowledge—or be temporarily offline. If you encounter a problem linking to an external site, please e-mail Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the page and its URL. Q: Can I use my AOL browser?
A: If you use AOL, you will need to use Netscape or Internet Explorer, not AOL's default, internal browser. Among other things, AOL's browser has known compatibility problems with Microsoft's new operating system, Windows XP. After logging on to AOL, open Netscape or Internet Explorer in order to use an e-seminar. You may need to contact AOL to configure Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer to work with AOL's proprietary software. Both Netscape and Explorer are free to download and use. In this scenario, you are connecting to the Internet with AOL's network but using Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer to surf the e-seminar. You may prefer to use Internet Explorer 4.x and above because AOL's browser has the same look and feel. Just make sure you're still logged on to AOL. Do not log off when using Netscape or Internet Explorer.
Q: Can I use the Safari browser?
A: Yes. However, Windows XP has known compatibility problems with several programs, including Microsoft's own Internet Explorer 6 and Outlook. Windows XP also doesn't work well with AOL 6, McAfee VirusScan (through 5.21), Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2001, and Quicktime 5. To learn more, visit Microsoft's Windows XP Support Center Web site. Q: Is Columbia Interactive compatible with Mac OS X?
A: Yes. Columbia Interactive will work fine in Mac OS X or Mac OS 9. back to top
ID or Password Help Q: I have lost my user ID or password. What do I do?
A: If you've lost your user ID or password, please e-mail Customer Service at email@example.com with your full name and the name of the e-seminar you are trying to access.
Contact Us Q: How can I contact Columbia Interactive?
A: Please direct your comments, questions, and suggestions to Columbia Interactive Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org. Q: What is Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures, and how can I contact them?
A: Columbia DKV is the organization at Columbia University that maintains this site. If you are interested in collaborating with Columbia DKV on a digital learning initiative, please contact us at email@example.com.
back to top