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Students at MLC are expected to have a student-owned computing device available for use in class. It is up to the individual instructor as to how devices will be used in their classrooms. Not every instructor will use the devices on a daily basis, but only when it enhances the learning experience in some way.
The goal of any device is to be usable in a variety of contexts. Because of this it is recommended to purchase a device that is durable and has a long battery life. It will need to handle the rigors of student life on campus. It is wise to discuss the specifications of any device under consideration with the chosen vendor, who will help in the difficult balance between cost, efficiency, and robustness (i.e. consider specifications as well as cost when purchasing).
The main use of devices in class often centers around the use of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools, along with a web browser (the learning management system on campus is accessed through a web browser). Access to a modern web browser is a requirement.
Please note: Google Apps for Education is web-based and is free to all instructors and students at MLC. It includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. In addition, recent versions of Microsoft Office are available through MLC Network Services for both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X computers at a greatly reduced price.
MLC does not publish a recommended device list for students to choose from, but we do list some recommended minimum specifications to enable students to make an informed decision around which device(s) to purchase. You are free to choose the specific model/brand you desire along with insurance and/or service agreements through your vendor.
In general, laptops/notebooks are the most commonly purchased device for use in the classroom. There are a number of different brands/manufacturers to choose from with a variety of price-points. Laptops in general are larger, heavier, and have a shorter battery life than some other devices, such as tablets, but balance that with built-in keyboards, optional touch screens, higher performance, and ability to run some legacy software.
Tablets are usually smaller, less powerful, simpler devices than laptops/notebooks. Often they have better battery life to go along with being easier to slip into your bag to take to class. While often considered secondary devices to a desktop or laptop in your room, they are becoming more and more capable as time goes on, but be aware of the limitations of using these devices. There are some educational programs and other tools that will not run on tablets.
Specifications are hard to quantify when it comes to tablet devices. The main thing to keep in mind is to purchase newer devices that are loaded with a recent version of the tablet’s operating system.
As of May 2016, these are the most recent versions of common operating systems:
More common years ago, some students still use desktops in their dorm room and have a separate device to take to class when needed.