Parking  |  Tickets  |  Join


Computer System Requirements

2015 Master Gardener Online Training Course

The Master Gardener online training course uses an online teaching program called Blackboard Collaborate, which is hosted by Illinois Compass. Trainees can access the Illinois Compass platform through a web browser. Some of the files in the course are very large. If you have slow Internet access, you may find viewing the files time-consuming, frustrating, and costly if done all online. A high-speed Internet (broadband) connection is highly recommended. Dial-up internet is problematic and may be too slow for this course.  

256 MB RAM and 20 MB free disk space are needed also.

The Illinois Compass software you will use resides on a server (a central host computer) on the University of Illinois campus. Be sure that your computer's settings are optimized for running an online course. Illinois Compass uses Java technology extensively. In order for Compass to work properly, you need to have the appropriate Java plug-in installed on your computer. To get the most recent version of the Java plug in for your windows computer, go to, click on the Free Java Download button and follow the directions.

It is important to have a player such as Windows Media Player, Real Player, or Apple QuickTime Player. Macromedia Flash Player and Macromedia Shockwave Player are recommended.

You will also need Acrobat Reader ( to view the CD-ROM version of the Master Gardener Manual. The Master Gardener online course has a messaging system within the course, so e-mail access is not absolutely necessary, but for direct communication with the instructor it is recommended that course participants also have an e-mail account.

Recommended Browsers

Not all web browsers perform properly with Illinois Compass and Collaborate. Please refer to the table below for the browsers that have been tested and are supported by Illinois Compass.


Internet Explorer 8.0, 9.0, 10.0, 11.0

Firefox (latest stable release)

Chrome (stable channel)

Safari 5.0, 5.1, 7.0

Firefox (latest stable release)

Chrome (stable channel)

Other browsers will generally display Compass content, but may not work properly for all features such as quizzing and assignments.

Supported operating systems include:
Windows Vista, Windows 7 and 8
Mac OSX 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10