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Is Your Computer Ready?

The following are PC/MAC recommendations from the office of Technical Support for students at Thomas University. The recommendations are based upon the analysis of the average use of computers by students as well as the minimum requirements for using Blackboard and Collaborate. The recommendations do not take into account additional specialized equipment or software that may be required by a student’s academic program. Students are advised to check with their individual programs and their instructors for any additional computer requirements. The recommendations will list a minimum, recommended, and advanced system to prospective students and are separated into two sections: System (the computer itself), and Software (needed programs).

Overall recommendations

A personal computer or laptop is highly recommended in today’s online environment.  IPads and most mobile devices and tablets are not recommended for use as a student’s primary personal computer as these devices may not fully support the student’s academic computer needs. 

Should I buy a new computer?

If you have a computer that was purchased new within the last two years it should be more than sufficient to meet your needs. Even high-end computers purchased 3-4 years should still be useful. If you need to purchase a new computer, we would recommend that you try to buy the most capable system you can afford (Recommended System). Systems with more memory, disk space, and processor speed tend to remain viable for a longer period of time. The typical useful life span of a computer is 3-4 years.

Should I buy a printer?

Buying a printer is recommended, especially if you are a heavy print user and if you need faxing and color capabilities.  Printers are available in the library’s two computer labs which produce black and white printouts.  Students are afforded a printing allowance of 350 prints per semester at no charge. Additional pages cost 10 cents per page.

What kind of Internet connection should I have?

If you live in the residence hall you will have access to a high speed Internet connection. Wireless hot-spots are available in several places on campus, including the Library. Most computers come with a wireless card capable of connecting to the campus network without any problems. If you live off campus we would suggest some type of high speed (DSL or Cable) Internet service. If you don’t have access to a high speed Internet connection and have a modem with your computer (this is commonly called dial-up access) you will need to subscribe to an on-line Internet service provider (ISP). 

What operating system should I get?

Get the latest available system that you can afford.  We recommend 8.1 or 10 for a Windows based system and OS9 or OSX for a Mac.

TU does not recommend the use of Linux operating systems for any but the most advanced computer users. Neither Blackboard nor Collaborate provide support for Linux systems, and TU does not possess the capacity to provide any technical assistance to Linux users.

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