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; Microsoft Windows, but we also 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.
The College provides many information technology services to enhance learning and living on-campus including state-of-the-art facilities, cloud-based services, Internet and Internet2 connections, leading-edge Wi-Fi, e-mail, storage, web-based collaboration systems, e-portfolio systems, smart HD-equipped interactive classrooms, a learning management system, video production and editing systems, a variety of software, 275+ workstations, sign-out equipment, dozens of servers and a secure video conferencing system with dial-in phone and recording capabilities.
Each student is assigned an account giving single-sign-on access to Office 365, Google Apps, e-mail, Intranet, and Moodle. A web-based student information system (MyThomas) provides access to class schedules, student grades, student bills, and other information. A Microsoft Campus Agreement allows undergraduate and graduate students to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, download/install Office Pro Plus or Office for Mac and use Office 365 cloud services (including OneDrive, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Office Web Apps and Office Mobile for iPhone/Android/iPad) on ten devices for no additional cost while taking courses at the College. Students are also provided with Microsoft Endpoint Protection anti-virus and anti-malware software. Internet and Internet2 access is provided by an 800M connection.
The computer labs and clusters at Thomas are comprised of Windows 10 computers. Students have access to printers and computers 24×7 in our academic and residence hall buildings. Technical assistance, training and sign-out equipment is available from our Service Desk in the center of the Alfond Academic Center. Microsoft Office 2016 Pro Plus (Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher), Adobe Creative Cloud, Visual Studio, Project, Visio, Minitab, QuickBooks and many programming languages are available campus-wide.
Information Services, a combined IT Services and Library Services department, is staffed by 8 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 also available.
We recommend a notebook/laptop computer with Windows 10, with specifications below. We recommend Windows computers because 95+% of businesses use them. We encourage our students to learn Windows while a student rather than when they start working full-time. Thomas College purchases commercial-grade Microsoft Surface Pro 4 devices from Dell 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 around $1,800, but can be customized to a lower price point by reducing the size of RAM, disk space or CPU. Other cost savings choices include removing the accident insurance, changing the warranty so it is for a shorter period of time, or changing on-site service to mail-in service. If you would like the lowest-cost device, we have found many Windows 10 computers with limited warranties in the $300-$400 range that may be OK for some students for a short amount of time. Smart phones and tablets may also be helpful to students as a secondary smaller, low-cost device.
Our recommended Microsoft Surface Pro 4 computer from Dell includes:
Microsoft Office and anti-malware is included in your tuition. Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) and other software may be rented at a low student rate through our partner web sites.
For special Dell pricing for Thomas students, faculty, and staff, go to http://www.dell.com/thomas (Member ID:US126355861).