Requirements, Services & Costs

There is a strong interaction between the quality and extent of services a campus offers and the costs associated with this infrastructure. There is also a tremendous variation in the ways campuses charge for these services. To evaluate the benefits received, and to be able to directly compare costs, you will need answers to these questions.

What, if any, technology fee is charged by the campus and what does it cover?
There is no technology fee at WPI.
Are students required to purchase their own computer?
Students are not required to purchase a computer and there are hundreds of computers available on campus for students to use. However, most students like the convenience of having their own computer; approximately 98% of our students bring a computer to campus.

More specifically, WPI does not require students to own laptops computers. Academic requirements vary substantially across the community, courses, projects, tools, and people. Standardization on one model or one operating system would not be appropriate. A standard would result in a machine that either could not meet the minimum requirements in some progams or force students in other programs to over purchase. Such a requirement would be at odds with the WPI Plan. WPI requires its students to take responsibility for their own educational programs. In an analogous sense, WPI students are expected to take responsibility for determining the tools they need to succeed in their own program of study. WPI's Information Technology Division provides recommended specfications and some vendor relationships to incoming students to assist them in selecting their computer system.
How does the campus make computing and network access financially available to all students?
All WPI students have access to the more than 300 computers in over 15 public computer labs across campus. Several computer labs are open 24 hours a day when classes are in session. In addition, an active network connection is available to each resident at no charge. If students want to purchase a computer, special deals are available with Dell and TCS3 a local computer reseller.
Does the campus assess extra fees for network connections in the dorms or for off-campus access?
No. A wired Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) port is available per bed and wireless is available. We recommend always choosing the wired port, if available, for best performance. Additional systems can be registered for a small fee.
If students bring their own computer equipment to school, what kind of support can they expect from the campus?
The WPI Helpdesk provides, e-mail, telephone and walk-in support for
  • connecting their computers to the network (ResNet technicians are available by appointment to visit residence hall rooms);
  • software installation (a list of supported software applications is available on the Web);
  • virus protection software installation and removal;
  • getting notebooks set up on the campus wireless network;
  • software usage for standarad Microsoft products and e-mail.
The Helpdesk is open 24 hours/day from Sunday through Friday when classes are in session. Step by step documentation is also available on the Helpdesk Web site.

What hardware and software standards, if any, does the campus require, recommend, and/or support?
WPI does not have specific hardware requirements but provides recommendations. Information with the current recommendations is mailed out to all new students each spring, and is available online.
What kinds of services (Helpdesk, training, troubleshooting) are provided by the campus, and during what hours of operation?
WPI provides its students with a strong foundation of support services. The Computing & Communications Center (CCC)'s Helpdesk operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available by phone and e-mail, or students may choose to visit in person. In addition, the myWPI help team is available to assist students in using myWPI, WPI's course management and community portal system.

Regular training sessions are provided free of charge on campus throughout the year by WPI's IT Division. These include multimedia workshops (scanning, digital photography, Adobe Photoshop) as well as Windows application workshops (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel). WPI students also have access to Element K's vast library of training resources.

Gordon Library offers reference assitance to students in person 90 hours a week, as well as providing assistance via e-mail and chat. The library also offers information literacy sessions within and outside of student course work teaching students effective research techniques and introducing them to the library's various subscription databases and services.
Does the campus have a plan for keeping the hardware current, and, if so, what is the replacement cycle?
WPI maintains a campus-wide technology inventory and centralized information technology capital budget to ensure that its computing environment is kept up to date. The public computer labs and electronic classrooms are currently on a three-year replacement cycle.
How does the campus support printing for the students, and is there a charge for this?
Printers are located in most public computer labs and any student logged onto the campus network can print to them. Dot matrix printouts are provided at no cost. Black & white and color laser printing is available for a small fee to cover the cost of maintaining the printers. Students can put money on their ID cards to use for printing at self-service print stations, which are located in several locations around campus, including the library.

WPI's Academic Technology Center (ATC) also provides a variety of standard and advanced printing services for students, faculty and staff. These include black & white and color laser printing, large poster printing, as well as transparency and photo printing. There are nominal fees for all of these services. A complete list of services and fees are available on the ATC Web site.
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Last modified: Nov 11, 2010, 09:16 EST
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