Students – IT Requirements, Guidance and Support – Semester 1, 2020
As 2020 has seen an increased reliance upon technology to support all aspects of teaching, learning and exams, it is important that you, our students, are aware of technology requirements as well as how we can help you.
The advice below is based on recommendations to students looking to buy new devices, rather than the level of technology we expect a student to have access to. You may well find ways of being able to engage with our University services with lower cost devices – so please don’t feel obliged to purchase new appliances as it is likely that your current device will be sufficient.
We feel a laptop computer is the most important piece of IT hardware that a students needs for their studies, and as such we would recommend all students have access to one.
The university has no preference on whether students make use of a Windows or Apple laptop, but students should ensure their laptop is running Windows 10 or Mac OS Catalina. You should avoid using Chromebook laptops; we have often found these devices cannot run software that is required for some degree programmes.
Windows and Mac laptops come in a multitude of specifications, we would reccomend that at a minimum newly purchased laptops meet these specifications:
- Processor: Intel i5-8365U or AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
- Ram: 8Gb DDR4 2400
- HDD: 256GB SSD
- Battery: 3 Cell 50 WHr Long Life
- Display: 14 inch FHD (1920x1080)
We believe this will fully support your studies, as well as being suitably future-proofed for your years with us, avoiding any requirement to upgrade or secure another replacement device.
Our estimated cost of such a device is approximately £550.00, although we would encourage you to look for the best prices and deals. Having a look at this list of sites may help you find some of the best available deals Unidays, HP store, HP students, Lenovo deals, Dell advantage (students).
We have recommended an i5 processor to ensure future proofing, it is also a minimum requirement to run some programmes utilised by many of the science subjects . However outside of this you may find an i3 processor is suitable for your course.
Make sure you bring all the adapters and power supplies you need and make sure you have plenty of chargers and phone cables. Here’s a short checklist:
- Mobile phone cables and chargers
- Some electrical adapters if you are travelling from outside the UK
- An electrical extension cable which are handier than you might imagine
- A long, wired network (ethernet) cable as a more reliable alternative to wireless if your laptop has an Ethernet port
- Some electrical adapters if you are travelling from outside the UK. The University accommodation services provides advice on suitable electrical adapters
Given the reliance upon technology, we have significantly increased the available loan provision of laptops to our students, both Under Graduate and Post Graduate.
Short term laptop loans (up to 3 days) for occasional use, or your primary laptop is unavailable or not working, or isn’t able to support a particular task. We have a small number of devices avaiable for short term loans and it is provided through our self-service system.
Medium term laptop loans (up to 2 weeks) for when your primary laptop is unavailable or unable to support a task over a longer period of time, particularly to support a longer term assignment or studying for exams. We hope to develop this service during the first semester of this academic year (20/21), and eventually make a number of machines available for medium-term loan.
Long term laptop loans (full Semester or year) are for widening participation students, or for students experiencing hardship issues and other long term challenges. Students eligible for this service will be invited to apply and allocated their respective device at the start of Semester 1.
For all campus-based students there is reliable and free WiFi available across the University estate, including the halls of residence.
4G mobile data will provide minimum suitable connectivity, although service provision will vary by time and location. Your available data usage will depend upon the contract you have with your broadband or mobile data provider. To help guide you on what will be required, 2.5GB of data would tend to allow you to watch 3 hours of standard definition video in a day, and so 75GB per month. Your individual requirements will therefore depend upon the number of lectures, video and content you need to access throughout the month.
For step by step instructions on how to connect to the University Wi-Fi, please watch this short video on getting connected:
- Video: Get Connected (Small)
- A step by step guide on connecting to University Wi-fi.
Further information on getting connected to our Wi-Fi can be found on our configuring devices pages. Alternatively if you would like to download our Wi-Fi setup app right now, it is available directly.
You don’t need to worry about purchasing any office software as the University gives you the ability to download the latest version of Microsoft Office for free, and you can do this even before you arrive at the University.
You can get the latest Microsoft software here.
We will also run "Get Connected" sessions to help you access our network as well as associated hybrid teaching services.
Amongst other things, these sessions will explain in detail which particular browser or operating system will best support Blackboard Collaborate, Learn and PebblePad. These being the main services used by the University to provide remote learning and teaching.
We provide MS Office365 to all students, as well as an anti virus software - "Sophos". The software "Last Pass", which functions as a useful way to manage multiple passwords is also offered by the University to all students; free of charge. For more specialist software, provision is delivered through our central open access labs and school-specific processes.
EdHelp is our new student-facing support service and is available both online and at our Main Library, George Square, and the Murray Library, Kings Buildings.