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Q. The discounted Dell machines appear to be higher end computers and somewhat expensive. What about the new Net books which are so popular? Are these sufficient for a student’s needs?
A. It would be difficult to define one standard of performance needed for a student’s personal laptop. Requirements will vary considerably based on the student’s curriculum. It may seem surprising but Education students often need as much computing power as Engineering students. Today’s educational environment makes extensive use of audio, video, multimedia and even gaming techniques as well as such traditionally computational programs such as mathematics, statistics and computer aided design programs. Students not only need to run programs that can be resource intensive in order to study their class work but will have to master these techniques to use to fulfill assignments and prepare for future work. And of course some classes may be online.
It is difficult, too, to project 4 years into the future of computing and decide whether a computer purchased today will run the software of even a few years from now. Brand is not as important as resources. One critical resource is RAM or memory. Memory that seems excessive today may be just enough to get extra years of use from an expensive new computer and may not, in itself, be very expensive. Another thing to consider is the support offered by the manufacturer or vendor of the computer. A good warranty and service package can save in the long run. Apple computers are often chosen for multimedia applications and the Education College makes extensive use of them.
You may have already seen the links IT provides for University of Toledo students to use to purchase discounted software: Microsoft products, Adobe products, and End Note; and for discounted hardware: http://www.dell.com/toledo for Dell and http://www.apple.com/edu/utoledo for Apple.
All of that having been said, UT does provide some resources that can help to make a net book perform like a “real computer”.
The UT provides its students with a Microsoft Outlook Live@edu e-mail account. The e-mail address is in the form firstname.lastname@example.org (e.g., email@example.com). Students can access this e-mail on the Web from MyUT Portal or Outlook Live Access. The mailbox will have a maximum size of 10GB (gigabytes) and a maximum individual message size of 20 megabytes. Students will also have a Sky Drive which is 25 gigabytes of private disk space, accessible through a web browser, where they can store any computer files they wish. This is similar to the University-provided H: drive, except significantly larger. There is a maximum file size of 50 megabytes per file.
UT has been launching Virtual labs throughout the campus and within each of the colleges. With nothing more than a broadband internet connection and a web browser, students can access virtual computers loaded with all of the software they need to be successful...from anywhere in the world. Information Technology is now provides support for both Windows and Macintosh computers to connect to the Virtual Lab. Before attempting to connect, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section, review the list of system requirements, and decide which method of access is best for you.