What Computer Should I Buy?
Laptop Computer Requirement
Incoming students to the UK College of Medicine (UKCOM) are required to own or have reliable access to a laptop computer meeting basic minimum performance standards. Students planning to use their current laptops must ensure their equipment meets these requirements (outlined below) to ensure adequate functionality in the College of Medicine curriculum.
Required Uses for
- Students can use either a Mac [MAC OS X 10.9.1 Mavericks recommended minimum] or a Windows-based laptop (Windows 7 or higher). With minor exceptions, equivalent services are available to students using either platform. NOTE: As of October 2014, Microsoft Surface Pro (1,2,3, and 4) are all supported by ExamSoft.
- Major releases to operating systems are often released in the fall. To ensure compatability with the software used in our curriculum, you should avoid upgrading until it has been determined that all software will work correctly.
- Approved laptops must have a CPU that runs at 2.4 GHz or faster [Intel dual core i5 or higher]. Most modern processors are adequate; however, CPUs slower than 2.4 GHz should be avoided.
- If you are running a standard 32-bit Windows or Mac Operating System (OS), machines should have the maximum of 4 GB of RAM. It is highly recommended that a 64-bit OS be installed with at least 6 GB of RAM.
- Please consider the screen size carefully. Smaller screens (such as those found in lower-end netbooks) may not be optimal for examinations; remember, you will be taking course examinations (many with images) on this screen and should feel comfortable using it. Your laptop should support a resolution of at minimum 1024x768.
- Wireless networking capability (standard on most newer units).
- At minimum, your computer should have 2 functioning USB ports.
- Required Software
- Anti-virus must be installed (PC's). The University of Kentucky provides Microsoft Endpoint free of charge at: https://download.uky.edu/
- Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word) must be installed. Both Mac and PC versions are also available for download free of charge at: https://download.uky.edu/ or through Microsoft Office 365 which is provided for students.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (downloadable free of charge from www.adobe.com) must also be installed to accommodate course materials in PDF format.
- All computers will have a web browser installed. Depending on the application, it may be necessary to install additional browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc.).
- The University of Kentucky uses the Microsoft Exchange e-mail system – with student access to email and calendaring via the Outlook webmail client. Students are responsible for all e-mail and patient-related information sent via the campus Outlook system to their assigned UK e-mail accounts. Supplemental e-mail accounts (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) are not considered primary contact points for official UKCOM communications.
- Students are responsible for the ensuring the functionality of their laptops. UKCOM offers instructions and assistance for connecting to the wireless network (for example), but does not provide software or hardware support for student-owned laptops. However, UK students are eligible for discounted service/repairs via Kentucky Trade Computers (KYTrade) - a UK-contracted vendor located in the basement (The Hub) of W. T. Young Library (859-257-2427 kytrade.com).
Some students have found convertible notebooks to be useful for note-taking. These platforms are a combination of notebook and “tablet” computer running the Windows operating system – and typically have both a keyboard and a “stylus” (pen) to allow handwriting on the screen. Dell and Lenovo both offer convertible notebooks. Again, however, screen size should be carefully considered if going this route.
The UKCOM does not currently require the use of mobile devices (e.g., iPad, Android, etc.) running alternate (i.e., non-MAC or Windows) operating systems, and such devices do not meet the minimum specified requirements for laptop computing. However, to accommodate student interest, most resources (e.g., Echo 360 lecture capture) are accessible via these platforms. The University of Kentucky also provides mobile apps and e-mail support for these devices.
Some students find it convenient to own a printer; however, this is not required. The UKCOM provides public “pay for print” devices in several areas, including the student lounges and the College’s computer lab. In addition, the medical center library also offers printing capabilities. Each year, students are allocated a fixed “capacity” on a print card – with the option of purchasing additional copies. Student printing is provided by IKON, with locations and instructions listed on their website (http://www.uky.edu/studentprt/).
Financial Impact on Students
- The Higher Education Act, as amended in 1998, recognizes computers as an educational expense. Thus, students may request up to $3,000 for inclusion of a computer in their cost of attendance. This is a one-time increase during medical school; all adjustments will be for Fall/Spring.
- Students are free to choose whichever laptop they desire (Mac or PC) – provided it meets the specified minimum requirements outlined above). Tablets or other mobile devices are not required, and are completely at the discretion of each student.