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Computers and Technology
Purchasing a Computer
Swenson College students are required to have a laptop. Here's why:
- Some courses require students bring laptops to class to access important tools and information
- Most college procedures like registering for classes are handled online
- Students must use email to communicate with faculty and staff
- To access data in the UMD library and on the internet
Computers are available for checkout through ITSS if needed, but for a limited time.
If you have concerns about specific software running on your computer, consult with your department.
While Mac and iOS are popular, many engineering applications are best utilized on a Windows platform.
Swenson College Laptop Suggestions
- Windows 10; Mac OS 10.12 (or newer)
- 2G 64bit process (Intel, AMD, or Mac)
- 250 GB hard drive (minimum, 500 GB preferred)
- 8 GB RAM (minimum)
- WiFi/WiDi and Ethernet connectivity
- 8 GB flash drive (to transfer files)
- Web camera
- HDMI external display adapter (for classroom presentations)
- 3-4 year Service/Maintenance plan
- Accidental Damage Plan or Insurance Coverage (available for laptops purchased at the UMD Computer Corner)
- An office suite containing word processing and spreadsheet programs is required and Microsoft Office is available for free from the University.
- Google Apps Through a partnership with Google, University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff can access a suite of Google-powered communication and collaboration tools designed to enhance our ability to work together.
- The UMD Computer Corner also sells software.
- Many courses use the Excel Analysis Toolpak which is a no cost add-on to the program.
- The Macintosh version of Microsoft Excel (version 2011) does not currently have the Toolpak available so please be aware of that before purchasing as students are entitled to one MS Office license at the discount rate.
- Open source office suites are also acceptable including OpenOffice, NeoOffice, and others, but be aware that support is limited and some features may not be available.
Other software might be required for certain courses, but our computer labs have all the software typically needed. If you plan to purchase your own software, check with your department or instructors to find out what might be required.
Software Licensed by Swenson College
We maintain the licenses for some specialized software including ArcGIS, MATLAB, and JMP Genomics (SAS). ITSS can assist you with installing and licensing issues so feel free to contact their support team if you have questions or requests.
Student Collegiate Fees
Technology is an integral part of our college. The student collegiate fee makes it possible for Swenson College students to develop skills needed to succeed in their future profession, enhance their learning experience, and provide access to high-quality technology facilities.
From computer labs and classrooms to sophisticated instrumentation to web development, the fee contributed by each student is being used to benefit all of our students.
- Tech Fee Funded Items for 2017-2018
- Tech Fee Funded Items for 2016-2017
- Past Tech Fee Funded Items
- Acceptable Uses of Tech Fees
- Tech Fee Committee Members
All Swenson College majors use a spreadsheet application at some point in their courses.
It helps to have some skill in using spreadsheets before you start classes here. Many online training written and video resources are available - search for "Microsoft Office Training" or similar terms.