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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Virtual Pair Programmers?

Why is a virtual course better than a traditional face-to-face course?
Our customers tell us about so many reasons why our virtual courses are better than the traditional option. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Cut out the expense and time involved in travelling to attend a face to face course
  • Learn at a time that suits you, day or night, in the comfort of your own home or office
  • Learn in small chunks over a period of time, or all in one go - whatever works best for you!
  • Don't get frustrated that you can't see the tutor's slides or screen clearly because you won't find someone sat in front of you!
  • Missed something the tutor said? Pressing rewind is much easier than asking them to repeat (and less embarrassing too!)
  • Want time to think about something - press pause and stop for coffee when YOU want to
  • The course is available now - you can start learning within the next 30 minutes
Why is a virtual course better than buying books?

Books are great for reference, but not so good for self-paced learning. Countless studies have shown that there are three aspects to learning - what you see, what you hear and what you do. Books only provide you with one of these; we bring all three together, to ensure that you can get the knowledge you're looking for quickly and with the least effort possible.

Many of our customers want to be really confident on the subject they're learning about so that they can use it to apply for their next job. We understand this, and that's why we focus our courses on exactly what you need to know. Books have to fill a certain number of pages and are often padded out with useless "filler" material.

So what exactly is a "virtual" course?

Our "virtual" courses are training videos that you download and keep. You can play them on your computer again and again. Each video has been carefully written by top trainers and subject matter experts to give you what you need to know, in a way that is fast, effective, friendly and easy to use.

In our videos, you will be working alongside an experienced developer (your "virtual pair programmer") to build real software from scratch. We don't miss out any of the steps, and you can clearly see the tutor's screen at all times, so that you'll see exactly what they have typed in.

You learn more when you are hands-on, so we also provide practical work with our videos for you to try - think of it as homework but with no scary teacher waiting to give you a bad mark!

What if the course isn't suitable for me?

We want all our customers to be happy. If you have any queries before you buy, you are welcome to contact us for advice or further information.

With our great value monthly subscription there's no minimum term - you can cancel your subscription at any time if the course isn't right for you.

Accessing your Courses

Do I have to watch the whole course at once?

We have split each course into a series of chapters and you can watch each chapter individually at any time.

If you have taken our membership subscription, then you can watch any of our course chapters as many times as you like, as long as your membership is valid.

If you have purchased a single course, then you can download the video files to watch offline. There are no time limits on your downloads - the videos won't expire.

What if I'm on a slow connection, or have limited or expensive bandwidth costs?

If you have taken our membership subscription, then you do need to be online to watch the courses. We suggest you try watching some preview chapters before you sign-up to ensure that your internet connection is good enough to watch them.

Can the course be used by more than one user?

No - each sign-on and purchase is user specific. We do not allow you to share your logon, and have automatic checks to prevent abuse of this, which may result in your account being suspended. For teams of 5 or more users, we have preferential pricing available through our partner site Java Learning Solutions.

Course Content

Is there practical work on the course?

Definitely. We wanted the courses to be as a close as possible to our live courses. We aim to make our courses as good as - if not better than - live classroom training. We feel that practical work is the most important aspect of good learning, and so our video courses will always feature a lot of practical work.

Who wrote the courses?

Our parent company is a training company that has worked with many projects across the world. The courses are adapted from our long established training material and is all written in house.

Couldn't I just buy a book?

Yes, and there are indeed a lot of good quality books on the market - and we always have book recommendations at the end of the course. But books do need a lot of study, and it is easy with books just to read them and not to put the theory into practice. With a video course, you can actually see and feel how to do the work. But books will always have an important place, we're not trying to replace them.

When will the next course be ready?

This is easily the most frequently asked question! We take great pride in the quality and content of our courses, which means that they take some considerable time to produce. This does unfortunately mean that we can only release a limited number of courses a year. We let our customers know what's coming up each month through our regular email newsletters.

About the Videos

What is the format of the videos?

If you take a membership subscription, then the videos are streamed through our website. The technology we use means that all our courses can be viewed on any modern computer, tablet or smart phone.

If you purchase a course, all the videos are in MP4 format. You will need a media player to play these files: modern versions of Windows Media Player and QuickTime can handle MP4. If you need to get a different player, we recommend VLC Player (www.videolan.org/vlc/). Some users report that Elmedia Player (http://mac.eltima.com/media-player.html) is best on a Macintosh.

If you have tried VLC or Quicktime and you're still having problems, do contact us and we'll do our best to get you started.

Can I watch the videos on an iPad / Android Tablet?

If you take a membership subscription all courses are watchable on an iPad 2 or above, or an Android tablet running Android 4.1 (Jellybean) or later. (Please note that for full screen playback, you need Android 4.4 or higher, earlier versions will display errors when you resize). If you purchase a course, Android users can download each video directly from the website to the tablet. iPad users should download the video to a computer and transfer to their iPad using iTunes.

Are the videos playable in Windows Media Player?

If you take a membership subscription then the videos are watched directly in your browser.

If you purchase a course, then all but the Java Web Development course can be viewed in recent versions of Windows Media Player.

Can the videos be played on a full screen?

Some PC configurations can handle full screen, but on some systems the display will be too blocky to be usable. In these cases, leaving the video player at its standard size is the best approach.

Is there any Digital Rights Management (DRM) on the course?

If you purchase a course, then the files you download are DRM-Free. Once you've downloaded the course you'll be able to use it at your leisure, it will never expire.

With a membership subscription, you must be online and signed-in to your Virtual Pair Programmers' account to watch the course.

Do I need any particular PC configuration to run the courses?

As long as you can run Java and a modern IDE such as Eclipse (eclipse.org), you'll be fine. The main requirement is RAM, you'll need at least 1Gb to be comfortable.

Why are the file sizes so big?

We thought long and hard about this. Conventional wisdom in screencasting is that you record a small screen (maybe 640x480 pixels), and "zoom in" on the area of interest. This leads to small file sizes. However, in the spirit of "virtual pair programming", we wanted the screen to look as it would if you were working alongside another programmer. So we wanted to show the whole of a standard development environment, with no zooming (which we thought would be disorientating).

So we have taken the risk of recording at a large 1024x768 and accept this will lead to large file sizes.

Can I play the course on a Television using a DVD player?

Sadly, no. The video files would not be readable by a standard DVD video player.

Payments

How do I pay for my course?

We accept payment by credit card and PayPal. Paying by these methods provides instant access to your course. We can also accept payments by interbank transfer. Your course will become available when the funds are received. For companies requiring a Purchase Order, see the following question. You can select your preferred payment type on the checkout page.

Payment by Company Purchase Order

If you are a company wishing to pay with company cheque or BACS payment, we accept payment by Purchase Order. At the payment page, select "Pay by Purchase Order", and on confirming the order you are asked to enter (optionally) your Purchase Order number. This number will be displayed on our invoice.

An invoice in PDF form will then be displayed which you can print and enter into your own Purchase Ordering system. A copy invoice will also be sent to the email address you used to register your account.

On receipt of payment, we will approve your order. Any DVD's will be dispatched and your electronic downloads will now be available for download. We will then send a Remittance Advice by email and by post.

Is my information safe?

We take security very seriously. Our site uses 256 bit encryption for every page, and we will never sell nor give away your data to any third parties. You can opt out of receiving our news (using the link at the bottom of every news email, or by sending us a message) and we don't store your credit card or PayPal details.

Does the price include applicable taxes?

There is no VAT to pay on our courses if you are outside of the European Union (EU). For course purchases, there is also no VAT to pay if you are a busines customer (see the next question).

For course purchases, which include support, the place of supply is the UK, and all customers from the EU are liable to UK VAT (currently 20%).

For membership subscriptions the place of supply is governed by EU rules on digital products, and the VAT rate applicable in your country of residence will apply.

All of our prices include VAT where it is applicable. The price you see is the price you pay.

Following the completion of your transaction you will receive an invoice with any VAT clearly identified. This will normally be sent to you within 3 working days.

I have an EU VAT Number. Do I have to pay VAT?

VAT registered companies within the UK are eligible to claim back their VAT through their VAT return.

Registered companies elsewhere within the EU, have the option to include their full EU VAT Number (including the two letter country code) on the checkout page for course purchases, and the VAT will be waived from the order.

For subscriptions, all EU customers will be charged VAT at the rate applicable in your country, and a VAT receipt will be automatically sent to you within a few days of receiving your payment. We do not currently operate the reverse charge mechanism on our automated subscription packages.

Let the Course Come to You

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