College Technology Tips

FAQ about computers in college classrooms

By SLU Staff Writers

If one of your first questions about college is "Where's the Wi-Fi?", we've got good news. You don't have to leave your iPad in your room when you head to class at most universities. Laptops, tablets and other technology are more common than ever before in college classrooms.

Your learning style—and your finances—plays some role in how fully you embrace the trend, but our FAQ on technology at college will help get you started.

Should I bring a computer to my college classes?

Laptops, iPads and other tablet computers can make it easier to take notes in class and follow along with lectures. At Saint Louis University, they also allow for collaboration with classmates through university-wide software, like Google Drive and Blackboard. Distraction can be a problem, though. If you decide to bring your laptop, iPad or tablet to class, stay focused and stay off of sites like Facebook.

Are there any tools to help me stay focused?

There are apps that can block Internet access to help you focus on the course material and resist the urge to go online. Cold Turkey is a free app to block Wi-Fi access and popular sites while you are in class. Other options include Freedom and Anti-Social.

Do professors incorporate technology into college courses?

Chances are that technology will be part of at least a few of your college classes, no matter what your major. LCD projectors are being swapped for SMART boards and professors can post lecture material and videos online to help you prepare for class.

At Saint Louis University, undergraduates majoring in physical therapy use a motion analysis lab to help find solutions for people with chronic pain. Other departments incorporate technology into their courses in a variety of ways. 

Is it worth buying the e-book version of my college textbook?

E-books are less expensive than the traditional college textbooks. Plus, the books are always available online, which can be beneficial for studying. It really just depends on your study habits; some people love e-books and some people don't. Saint Louis University's campus bookstore started offering digital textbooks several years ago, and about one-third of college textbooks used on campus are now available in digital form.

Do college students get a technology discount?

You're going to be happy you asked. Students get a discount through Apple, Dell and more. At Saint Louis University, the discount can range from 7 to 15 percent, and the campus bookstore has other specials throughout the year. Learn more about SLU's technology discounts.

Mac or PC?

We're not going to take sides in this fight. Saint Louis University's Information and Technology Services offers a recommendation on what kind of machine to use that's tailored to your major—down to the amount of memory and what kind of software you'll use.

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