Below is a list of the equipment and necessary work area requirements for candidates completing the TypeWell Basic Skills Course.
Laptop or Desktop Computer
To complete the Basic Skills Course, a candidate must use a laptop or desktop computer running Windows 10 or higher.
The training course software will be installed on the computer. The candidate will use this software to complete 29 interactive lessons.
If the candidate intends to work as an on-site transcriber, then they will use a laptop computer to travel from job to job. As such, we recommend they complete the training on a laptop computer (rather than a desktop) so their hands become familiar with the size and layout of that keyboard. However, if the candidate intends to work remotely, they can use either a laptop or desktop in their home office.
The training computer must have:
- 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 10 operating system or higher (or Apple Macs with special software);
- .NET 3.5 Runtime required (should already be included with Windows 10, downloadable here if needed);
- At least 600 MB of free disk space on the C: drive;
- At least 512 meg of RAM (1024MB (1GB) recommended);
- A comfortable keyboard. NOTE: If you're using a laptop, then you should NOT use an external keyboard. That's too inconvenient in transcribing situations, so you must learn with the kind of keyboard you will use after the course;
- A comfortable mouse, touchpad, or pointing device. NOTE: If you're using a laptop, it should have a built-in. You should not use an external mouse or pointing device if you're training on a laptop. That's too inconvenient in on-site transcribing situations, so you must learn to use the laptop mouse;
- A working sound system for playing sound to a headset;
- Wi-Fi or wired internet access OR a method to transfer data from another computer that has an internet connection (e.g. a USB flash drive);
- A web browser (just the program, no connection to the internet needed during individual lessons);
- Windows Media Player, version 7 or higher (downloadable here if needed;
Be sure the computer you choose meets all the requirements and is in good condition and reliable. If the computer malfunctions and you need to switch to a different computer during the course, there will be a $50 transfer fee. This is necessary because of the work needed to make the transfer and to re-sync the student account on the course server.
Notes about WiFi and internet access:
WiFi and linking hardware will be used when providing communication access services, after completing the Basic Skills Course. Linking between devices is not used in the initial phase of the course.
Internet access directly from the computer is NOT required during the Basic Skills Course. However, at the completion of each lesson, the candidate will need some way to transfer files from the training computer to their online training account. This can be done by connecting the training computer to the internet, or by transferring the files onto a flash drive which can then be transferred to another device used to log in to the training account.
So, while you can work on the lessons while you are "offline," you still need to get online for a few minutes at the end of each lesson.
The transcriber candidate should wear good quality headphones to hear the lectures in the transcribing lessons. Alternatively, external computer speakers can be used but are not recommended.
There are lessons that require the student to print multiple pages. The candidate can save the file to a device such as a USB key drive and print it on a different computer than the one used for the course.
Email and Internet Access
The transcribing candidate needs regular access to email and the internet on a computer, but it need not be on the same computer that is used for the course. Some lessons require the candidate to copy a special file from the course program and upload it to the internet account page. Thus, the course computer must be able to accept files from a PC writeable device such as a USB flash drive. Directions are included in the course software.
We suggest that the candidate only use one email account to receive messages from TypeWell, and we strongly recommend that he or she check regularly for messages.
The candidate will sign in to the course account on any internet-connected computer to submit each assignment and receive the password for the next lesson.
The transcribing candidate needs a phone for direct contact with the TypeWell teaching team.
The Work Place
Find a quiet room with a door that can be closed to facilitate concentration and minimize distractions or interruptions.
The Work Table
Use a small, portable work table that is designed for stenographers (see below for recommendation). Adjust the height so that the hands and wrists are slightly lower than the elbows when typing on the keyboard. This promotes good blood flow.
Alternatively, the transcribing candidate may use an adjustable table. However, be sure it prevents the wrists from resting on the edge of the table and keeps the wrists slightly lower than the elbows. To avoid fatigue and discomfort, the candidate should keep feet flat on the floor.
If desired, place a side table nearby to refer to the course handbook or to make notes.
The Work Chair
Get a comfortable, padded chair (add a lumbar pillow for support) that is compatible with the work table. Do not use a chair with arms that may impede or bump upper body extremities.
Clock or Timer
The student should monitor the time and limit work sessions to an hour or less.
Steno Table and Roller Bag (for on-site work)
If the candidate intends to work on-site, we strongly recommend that they complete their initial training on a laptop computer so they can get familiar with the keyboard size and layout. The transcribing laptop should be used in combination with a portable steno table, both during the training and once the transcriber is providing real-time services in a live setting. The purpose of the steno table is to support healthy ergonomics by allowing the transcriber to periodically adjust the height and angle of their keyboard.
The sponsor may provide this equipment, or the candidate may invest in their own. Look for the “sitting” model (CR1 or, if the candidate is tall, CR3) from insTand, sold on instand.com or Amazon.
Because an external mouse is not allowed during the training and is not recommended for classroom use, we do not recommend purchasing the "mouser tray" or the "swing-out" mouse shelf. These accessories are not necessary for the work of a real-time transcriber; they will just add extra bulk and may not fit in the transcriber's roller bag.
To safely transport the computer and to minimize muscle strain, we recommend purchasing a padded roller bag, available at many office supply stores.