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.
A number of you have been experiencing issues with your University accommodation's internet service. Given how important internet access is, now more than ever, we are taking this very seriously.
In the majority of student accommodation, the internet service is provided by a third party, Optify. We are currently working with Optify to ensure that there are no issues, they are aware of that would be causing these problems for you.
What can I do?
Streaming video works better on a wired network connection. For the best speed and stability try connecting to the network port at or close to the desk in your bedroom. To do this you’ll need a network cable which we can provide to you. Please ask at your house or site office, or at either of the EdHelp desks in the Main Library or the Noreen and Kenneth Murray library in Kings Building.
For some models of laptops or tablets, you’ll also need a network adaptor.
Unfortunately, wired connections are not available in Riego St.
I'm having issues with the Wi-Fi
If you experience problems with the Wifi we recommend you contact the Optify Care Team directly to inform them of your issues. This helps escalate these issues and gives Optify more information to work with. If you contact Optify please make reference to any slow Wi-Fi speeds or regular disconnects. You can do this at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 0333 308 0000
We recommend that you register your device(s) and use the Optify portal to track progress of your service issues. You can do both at:
If you have not had a resolution to your issue within 3 working days then please fill out this form, you will require your Optify ticket number. Finally, although the Wi-Fi should always offer a good level of service, many factors can impact on this.
If you stay in Beaverbank, Brae House, Haddington Place, Murano Place, New Park, Salisbury Court or Shrubhill Place please report any internet issues to your site reception.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Open access PCs are still available across campus, though the number of devices available is reduced due to physical distancing. Please use the study spaces booking webform or SeatEd@UoE app to reserve these PCs on campus. The University is also providing mechanisms to remotely run the software applications you need for your course. This allows you to run the software you need from your own device, from any location. For a guide to this, please visit our guide to accessing remote software. A full list of applications now accessible at home is also available.
This semester the University has shifted to hybrid learning, leading to more home learning for students. To help students with this, the EdHelp desks at both King's building and the Main Library are giving each student in need a free ethernet cable. As well as this, if a student is struggling with connectivity they are invited to ask a member of staff at either off these desks for advice.