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Episode 40- Advice from the Techies

Nov 09, 2020

If your student was lucky enough to go to campus then they are likely to head home soon. This is the third of four episodes to help get ready.


  • A reliable Mac or Windows PC
    • A second screen or tablet so they can view slides/video on one and take notes on the other.
  • Some tips students should know is to make sure their devices are up to date and to restart their computers every other day. 
  • They can contact the helpdesk anytime once we go remote if they were to run into an issue. 
  • For hardware I'd recommend webcams and headphones. 
    • Checking to ensure they are always functioning and in good enough quality. 
    •  Headphones (a headset including microphone is best, but if the computer has a built-in mic this isn’t a must). Most students have laptops and those laptops have webcams integrated into them.  He has nice bluetooth earbuds for his online classes and meetings so that was helpful as well.  If your student does not have quality earbuds or headphones, that would make a nice early holiday gift.
    • Some courses will require a webcam especially during finals for proxy software.
    • Spare batteries for any cordless mouse, earphones
    • Electrical plug for computer/laptop
  • Internet speed
    • Parents should perform a speedtest on their internet connection before their students get home to make sure they are getting the speed they are paying for monthly.  If they are not, they can contact their ISP to have this corrected.  Their speed should be listed on their monthly bills.  If you can't stream Netflix on your home network, your student will struggle with their classes and exams.  See if you can address this NOW.
      • There are many to choose from but here is an example. 
      • A good internet speed is at or above 25 Mbps. These speeds will support most online activity, such as HD streaming, online gaming, web browsing and downloading music.
      • Fast internet speeds, those in the 100+ Mbps range, are often better, especially if you want your internet plan to support multiple devices and users at once.
    • For others at home working/schooling/streaming coordinate so to not stream anything during student’s class session so they will have plenty of bandwidth for Zoom, MS Team meetings for classes.
  • If you don't have WiFi at home, their students will obviously have a hard time.  
    • Testing would be difficult if not impossible in a public space like a coffee shop. 
    • Some of the more portable laptops no longer have wired network connections on them and solely have wireless network access.  
  • You may also consider purchasing a mobile WiFi hotspot through your cellular provider if you cannot get broadband.  
  • Most universities require some type of endpoint protection to be installed on their computers if they connect to the university networks (if they don't, they are dumb! :-) ).
  • Non-IT:
    • A place to connect and study with as little noise as possible
    • Flexibility and time
    • Comfortable place
    • they can sit for up to 2 hours at a time
    • Lighting
    • Chair
    • Keyboard
    • Calculator or place to write comfortably for problem solving

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