Devices/Computers

IT Use at Thomas

At Thomas, information technology (IT) is an important tool in education. IT is incorporated into much of the academic curriculum, as well as into many administrative, research, and extra-curricular activities.

Thomas primarily uses one platform for notebooks and desktops; Microsoft Windows, but we also support all major systems. For mobile devices, we primarily use iOS, but support all major systems. Almost all faculty and staff at Thomas College use Windows on a daily basis. After personal contact, e-mail is the primary method of communication for many of our students, faculty, and staff.

Thomas’s Academic Technology Facilities

The College has several dozen servers running the Windows 2012 R2 operating system and one server running Linux along with both Microsoft and Google cloud services. Students have access to the servers and services from over 160 workstations on campus, personal devices in res. hall rooms or through the Internet. The Windows servers each have terabytes of on-line storage. Software available on the servers includes Microsoft Office on our remote desktop servers, Microsoft Exchange for e-mail, contacts, and calendar use, Microsoft SQL Server for database use and Microsoft Skype for Business for secure IM, group work, and telephony, and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) for application upgrades.

Each student is assigned an account on our server with access to e-mail, the Internet, the Intranet, MyThomas, and Moodle. Accounts are also assigned on our Microsoft Office365 domain and Google Apps domain. A web-based student information system (MyThomas) provides access to class schedules, student grades, student bills, and other information. Internet and Internet2 access is provided through a 800M connection. Students have access to printers in our academic and res. hall buildings. Other lab hardware includes presentation projectors, scanners, video cameras, DVD-RW drives, multimedia equipment, and networking equipment. Software available involves many Windows 8.1 based packages including Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013 (Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint), Adobe Creative Cloud, and many programming languages.

Information Services, a combined IT Services and Library Services department, is staffed by 7 full-time staff and 17 work-study students. The facilities are generally open Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 11:00pm, Friday 7:30am to 4:30pm, Saturday 8:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday 1:00pm to 11:00pm. The GPH, Hinman, Bartlett, and Townhouse labs and clusters are accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Student access from off-campus is available.

Computer Recommendations

We recommend a notebook/laptop computer with Windows 8.1 with specifications below. Thomas College purchases commercial-grade Dell Latitude E5450 laptops for its faculty, staff, and student sign-out computers with the following specifications.  We recommend the same device for personal purchases to reduce emergency hardware repairs and inconveniences that take student focus away from learning.   The computer specified below is typically between $1,500 and $2,100.  If you would like the lowest-cost device, we have found an ASUS notebook with Windows 8.1 and a touch screen at Sam’s Club for under $300.  Smart phones and tablets may also be helpful to students as a secondary low-cost/smaller device.

  • Intel i7 2.6Ghz, 4M Cache or higher
  • 802.11a/g/n WiFi/WPA2 wireless 802.11a/g/n WiFi/WPA2 wireless with 5Ghz connection
  • 14.0 inch wide (1920×1080) touch LCD display with camera and microphone
  • Intel Integrated Graphics 5500 Media Accelerator
  • 8Gb RAM or higher
  • 256Gb or larger solid state drive (SSD)
  • Wired network (built-in)
  • “all day” Polymer battery (newer technology than Lithium Ion, thinner, smaller)
  • 24×7, on-site next business day 4 (or 5) year warranty with accident insurance (many students need this at least once)
  • (for theft insurance, please add this to your homeowners policy and/or purchase Absolute Computrace for $20+ per year)
  • Available “extras”: backpack, wide screen, AT&T/Verizon broadband cards, fingerprint reader

We recommend you use the following software, but only buy Windows with the computer. Office, anti-malware, etc. is included in your tuition.

  • Windows 8.1
  • Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013 (Word, Excel, Outlook,PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Office Web Apps)
  • Microsoft Endpoint Protection
  • Adobe Reader

For special Dell pricing for Thomas students, faculty, and staff, go to http://www.dell.com/thomas (Member ID:US126355861).

Compare Dell Latitude notebooks to other models.