Welcome to the Class

CIS120, Introduction to Computer Information Systems, may be one of your first classes taken through Umpqua Community College (UCC). For some students, it will be their first ever college course! Don’t worry - this course will give you a head start on the digital tools and knowledge you will need to navigate your future courses as well.

Here, you will learn the basics of information technology. You will develop the skills you need to succeed in a digital world, including navigating the Internet, organizing your files and folders, and using essential tools like Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentations.

"I went from feeling... frustrated to feeling confident and smart."

Welcome to TestOut Desktop Pro Plus

Every student deserves a great start in using a computer and essential tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Desktop Pro Plus provides you with a positive experience in developing the skills you need to succeed in a digital world.

TestOut is the name of our company and Desktop Pro Plus is the online course you will be connecting with through the TESTOUT buttons each week in your Canvas course shell.

If you have limited experience using computers, Microsoft Office, or online courseware, don’t worry! You can do it. Over 1.5 billion users of Microsoft Office have learned to use the software and you can too. Desktop Pro Plus makes it easy to learn and boost your confidence.

We gave a group of adults 30 minutes to complete a simple Microsoft Word assignment found in the course. We also asked them to write down how they felt during the assignment. Interestingly, even those who finished the assignment expressed feelings such as “discouraged,” “want to quit,” “frustrated,” and “lost.”

Then, we asked the same group of adults to use Desktop Pro Plus to learn and practice a set of skills before completing a similar assignment. All the assignments were completed correctly within 5 minutes and the group reported feeling “smart,” “awesome,” and “fantastic,” with a strong desire to continue learning. One of the most memorable comments was: “I went from feeling frustrated to feeling confident and smart.”

In learning Microsoft Office, there are no shortcuts. It takes time to master the skills you need for success. As you go through the course, take advantage of the opportunity to really practice what you are learning. The skills you gain will save you time and serve you well during your formal education and throughout your career.

What to Know Before You Start

Course Materials

Instead of using a traditional textbook, TestOut Desktop Pro Plus’ tools for learning, practice, and assessment are all provided online using three types of course materials. Students do best when they follow the recommended steps for learning.

Step 1: Watch the Short Instructional Videos

Each section begins with a few short videos that demonstrate the new skills you’ll be practicing. For most students, watching the videos is the best way to gain initial exposure to the new material.

Step 2: Review the E-text Lessons

Desktop Pro Plus provides two kinds of information sheets in each section.

  • Fact Sheets review key terms and facts covered in the videos and discuss Office features in additional detail.
  • Tips Sheets give insights into how the skills will be useful in college and the workplace, as well as guidelines for using them more effectively.

Step 3: Complete the Practice Labs

Most of the time spent in Desktop Pro Plus will be in 3 different practice labs. These labs simulate Office and each has a purpose in improving memory, speed, and confidence. Desktop Pro Plus uses simulations instead of live software because simulations allow for hints and instant feedback when finishing a skill correctly. It also means the simulations will not stop you from making a mistake, just like if you were using the software. Learning from mistakes is a critical part of the learning process. In the Give It a Try section below, you will have an opportunity to try one of the labs.

Five Tips for Online Learning Success
  1. Find your motivation to learn online
  2. Courage comes before confidence
  3. Transform your anxiety into excitement
  4. Cultivate disciplined study habits
  5. Persistence is more important than intelligence

For the Best Online Experience

Depending on how fast your computer can process information, your experience can vary greatly in terms of loading times, responsiveness, and overall time needed to complete the lab.

Be Patient - TestOut is going to space and back!

Yes, it really is! The videos, text lessons, and labs are going into space, bouncing off satellites, then returning to wherever you are, so give it a few seconds. However, if the labs don’t load or seem extra slow, give our amazing support team a call at 1-800-877-4889 x 405.

Browser tips

  • For the course, we recommend using the Google Chrome web browser. For other online courses, always use the browser recommended by the course provider.
  • Close any browser tabs you aren’t using to take the course, as well as all other web browsers.
  • The simulation labs will only work on a desktop or laptop computer system.

Computer Requirements

We've created a list of specs your computer should have for this course to help things run smoothly.

Recommended Specification
Processor (CPU)
Is the abbreviation for Central Processing Unit or sometimes called central processor. The CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place. In terms of computing power, the CPU is the most important element of a computer system
Intel i3, Intel i5, Intel i7, AMD A12 or better
CPU Speed
The speed at which the CPU executes instructions. Every computer contains an internal clock that regulates the rate at which instruction are executed.
2.4 Ghz or higher
RAM (Memory)
Data is stored for the short term in the Random Access Memory, or RAM. RAM is the place where the CPU stores the data it’s currently working on. RAM is very fast, but it’s not persistent. That mean any data stored in RAM will be lost when the system is turned off.
4GB or higher
Operating System (OS)
The operating system is the most important program that runs on a computer and is a platform for applications like Microsoft Word
64- Bit Windows OS Intel-Based Mac OS

Internet Speed

Recommended Specification
Internet Bandwidth
Is the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time.
3.6 Mbps per user

To check internet speeds, we recommend freshly restarting the computer, resetting your router, and turning off any other devices that use your internet connection to reduce the possibility of interfering factors. Then navigate to (chosen for its simplicity and acceptable accuracy).

Labs require an internet speed of 3.6 Mbps per user to have good loading times. After initial loading is completed, the lab uses very little internet, although it is crucially important to maintain an internet connection. (Do not close your laptop or put it to sleep during a lab or your results may not communicate properly to our server.) will automatically begin to run its test and tell you your download speed. If you suspect the result you see is inaccurate, reload the test once or twice. If you see Kbps instead of Mbps then your internet speed is inadequate. 1000 Kbps = 1 Mbps. If you find that you are below the minimum internet speed, see section 7.5 for more ideas.

Give it a Try
Desktop Pro Plus Content Samples
Explore Video Features in Desktop Pro Plus

Do the following:

  • Select Play with Interactive Script
  • Use the video controls to change the speed and volume
  • Skip to another video segment
  • Make the video full screen
  • Toggle back to the interactive script
Explore a Skills Lab in Desktop Pro Plus

Do the following:

  • Select Start Lab
  • Read the first task
  • Open the Show Me hint
  • Complete the first task
  • Read the second task
  • Make a mistake
  • Select Reset this task