The Setup button and link take you to the same page, which describes how the program grading is setup. It will let you know what you are being graded on and what is required to complete the course. The introduction section introduces the program, covers some helpful tips about keyboarding, and will get you underway with the program.
Name & ID
This section is very simple. It shows you what your user information is. It also provides a link to modify your password, email, and phone number if allowed by your instructor. You can also modify this information with the User Info button on the main page as well as the link in the Intro section of the menu bar.
This section contains all the options for the different timing lengths. Each timing you will take is a specific length from 15 seconds to 5 minutes, and each length can have specific options.
- Errors Allowed – This is the amount of errors you are allowed to make. If you exceed this amount of errors, your score will not save and you will have to repeat the timing.
- Correction Blocked – If you look at the image above, correction is blocked for 15 and 30 second timings and correction is allowed for the rest. Correction means any keys or clicks that will change or alter the text that has already been typed. If you make a mistake, it cannot be changed. This is frustrating at times, but it will help increase your overall accuracy.
- Blackout Timing View – If the box is checked, like 30 seconds timings in the image above, then you will not be able to see the text you are typing. Instead you will see “Timing in Progress”. Keep on typing until the timer runs out. After the timing is over, the text you typed will be revealed and you will see where you made your mistakes. This feature will force you to focus on the timing and get you to stop looking at your hands and the keyboard. If you are looking at your hands and keys, you will notice more mistakes and you will have to retake the timing multiple times.
- Spaces after punctuation – The number of spaces you need to type after punctuation. You can see the spaces in the text, but it isn’t easy, so refer to this value to know how many spaces to type after a sentence or other punctuation.
- Timer timeout – This timer keeps track of pauses. The timer above is set for 2 seconds. Once you start a timing, if you pause for 2 seconds, it will reset the entire timing on you. You must keep typing at a steady pace for the duration of the timing. This timer will force you to keep you eyes on the text, because if you are looking up and down a lot, you will pause and the timer will often times reset.
- Advanced Options – The settings here are pretty easy to understand. Minimum Words per Minute, Scores required, the ability to update your password and email.
Timing weights are only in Keyboard Mastery and Skillbuilding Mastery. They show you how your timing scores combine to reach an overall average. If all the numbers are equal, then scoring 30 WPM on a 15 second will be the same as scoring 30 WPM on a 5 minute timing. If your teacher has these set to different numbers, you may want to focus on the higher numbers as they will play into your score more heavily.
This area showcases the sections that are required for you to complete the course as well as the percentage of your final grade. In the image below, you can see the different sections for the Keyboard Mastery program, as well as percentages that the student was assigned. This particular student has 40% of the final grade depending on lessons 1-11, 40% on lessons 12-24, and 20% on lessons 25-33. The Optional Timings and Created Lessons are worth 0% of the grade, meaning they are optional.
This area shows a breakdown of what is required for the different letter grades. The final grade is weighted based on section, and in the case of Keyboard Mastery and Skillbuilding Mastery, timing weights.
The recap screen is a one page summary of your requirements when using the program. It shows user information, scores and speed requirements, times you are allowed to work in the program, sections that are assigned, grading scales, and errors allowed. Below is a sample recap screen.
The next step is the Introduction. You can click the link on the page, use the top menu, or go back Home and click on the Introduction icon to proceed to the Introduction.
The introduction is an introduction to keyboarding and to the program in general. It is very brief and is generally more beneficial when guided by the instructor. Here in this guide, we will cover what each step contains and what we hope you take from it.
The SECRET to Keyboarding
SECRET is acronym to help you remember proper typing posture and procedure. Follow the rules listed and you don’t have to worry about bad typing habits or the complications of bad typing posture.
The Home Row
The home row is where your fingers should rest when they aren’t typing. It is the middle row of the keyboard: letters A S D F J K L ;. No matter what you are typing, your fingers should return to the home row after typing a letter. It may feel uncomfortable at first if you are not familiar with typing, but as you learn to keyboard properly, you will hands and fingers will automatically rest on the home row any time you are at a keyboard.
The keyboard chart on step 3 is interactive! The colors correspond to the finger that should press the key. Blue keys are pressed by your pinky, red by your ring finger, green by your middle finger, and yellow by your index finger. Your thumbs should rest on the keyboard and are only used for pressing the keyboard. Click the different keys on the keyboard chart and see what finger you should use for each key.
Using the Spacebar
Step 4 covers how to use the spacebar. You will use one of your thumbs to strike the spacebar between words. It doesn’t matter which thumb you use, but keep it consistent. It tends to be easier for right-handed people to use the spacebar with their right thumb. The typing box on Step 4 will allow you to practice typing the letter J and spaces. It is not required or graded, but will allow you to practice.
The Enter Symbol and Key
The program uses the Enter Symbol (↵) to indicate when you should use the Enter Key. Every timing you will work on has an enter symbol at the end. You will use your right little finger to hit the enter key. It travels from the semi-colon to the enter key and back. The text talks about how this is a large reach, but your index finger should NEVER leave the J key. If your middle and ring finger have to leave their keys, to help your little finger stretch, it is okay, but they should return back to their spot after striking the enter key.
The input on this step will allow you to practice typing the enter key while keeping you index finger on the J key. Try it out! It is not graded or required to move onto the next step.
Typing the Home Row Characters
There is no time limit here, and no grading. This step allows you to practice the home row characters and enter key. We recommend running through this a few times if possible because the home row needs to be second nature. See if you can do it without looking the first time. We aren’t trying to trick you, the letters are in order. The more you practice without looking, the faster your hand-eye coordination and muscle memory will develop.
This step gives a few more tips and prepares you for your first timing, which you will take on the next step.
Your First Timing
This screen can look a little intimidating at first, so here is a break down on everything you need to know about this screen that you will see for all lessons in the future.
- Green Area – This area will often times show you hints or tips that you should read and follow. In the example above, it reminds you that if you finish the line, you should hit Enter and start over again.
- Purple Area – This area will be visible when you are learning new keys. It will show you the home row as well as the row(s) of the keyboard where the new keys are. It will even have a button in some timings that will show you the “reach”, which is keyboard jargon for which finger you should use to reach the new key. Since this is the very first timing, it will only show the home row.
- Blue Area – This is the text you are to type. You will type it into the box outlined in red. Notice the enter symbol at the end!
- Violet Area – These are your requirements for the timing. In the example above, 1 error is allowed with 1 WPM required, and I only have to have 1 score to mark the timing as complete. If I fail to reach these standards (too many errors or too slow of speed), it will let me know where I messed up and have me retake the timing.
- Red Area – This is the box you will type the text above into. The timer (outlined in black) will start immediately when you press the first key and will count down to 0. Keep typing until you can’t type anymore. After the timing is over, the corrected text will appear as well in this area, showing you your mistakes and where you can improve.
- Orange Area – This area showcases your top 3 scores (top 5 if you are using Ten Key Mastery). In the example above all you see are 3 forward slashes (“/”) which indicate there is no score yet. When scores appear they will be shown as Speed/Errors(or Accuracy Percentage). A score of 35/1 means 35 WPM with 1 error.
- Black Area – This area is the timer. As soon as you start typing in the red area, the timer will start. When the timer reaches 0, it will prevent further typing and the text will be send off to be corrected and saved. If you made a mistake and want to start over, just click the timer; it will reset everything back to the beginning and you can start over again.
- Yellow Area – This area will allow you to adjust the font as needed. If the font is too small, make it bigger. If you have awesome eyes, you can make the font smaller. The text you type will also be adjusted to match the font. You can drag it up and down and it won’t affect your scores or start the timing.
Take your first timing. Type the text you see in the timing area. Keep typing until the timer runs out! After completing the timing and having a new Best Score, go to the next step. If you didn’t get a Best Score because you made too many mistakes, try it again!
This chart is a little intimidating at first, especially if you haven’t used the program much. The report show a record of all your scores since you began the program, as well as information about how much work you have done, and your overall average. See the chart and legend below.
Black Section – This allows you to filter scores to a specific date range. You can see what you did today, last week, or all past scores.
Green Print Button – This allows you to print your report. Your browser should allow you to even “print” to a PDF if you want to save a record of your scores.
Red Area – The text here indicates some things you can do with this report. If you click on any score, a pop-up box appears with detailed information about your scores. If you want to retake a specific score, right-click that score and you will be able to revisit that timing and try for a higher score.
Orange Area – This area shows Effort, Average, and Today’s Date. Effort is the amount of time you spend typing in the program. If you take a 15 second timing, you get 15 seconds worth of effort. If you take a 1 minute timing and quit after 10 seconds, you get 10 seconds worth of effort. The average is the average of all lesson averages, just look at it to get an idea of what your final grade might be.
Yellow Area – This area shows the lesson numbers. Lessons start at 1 and go up from there to the right.
Green Area – This area shows the average for the lesson number indicated above. If it is showing 0, it means it isn’t completed, or perhaps there is a weighting issue that your instructor may need to fix. If you are curious about the 0, click on it and it will tell you why it is 0.
Blue Area – This area shows the line numbers. Each lesson is composed of several lines. This dates back to when students would type lines out of a textbook. The naming convention has stuck with the program, but essentially, each “line” is a timing or drill that students need to complete for that lesson.
Purple Area – This area is where a score will be. The purple area in the image above shows a “/” for Lesson 1 Line 1. A slash means there is no score yet. If you have a score, it will appear something like 15/0, indicating 15 WPM with 0 Errors.
Step 10 gives more tips about using the program. Read through them. They are important, and may help you in the course if you have questions.