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Essential Technology for Students
The Grainger College of Engineering provides recommended technology for students that prepares them for a variety instruction scenarios.
- To be prepared for any potential learning scenario, each student will need:
- The ability to view lectures and supplementary materials online
- The ability to use specialized Engineering software packages for coursework
- The ability to interact and collaborate digitally with professors, TAs, and peer students
- The ability to take an online exam and interact with course proctors on a separate device
The following essential technology allows for flexibility and usability across disciplines within Grainger College of Engineering. These will serve a student well both on campus and in a hybrid or remote learning environment.
While less flexible and fully featured, Grainger College of Engineering students can complete their educational experience by purchasing at minimum a budget Windows laptop for online participation and notetaking, a smartphone, and headset.
Tablet or 2-in-1
Function & Features
Windows & MacOS
Students should choose a model that has enough memory and hard drive storage (see below), and is powerful enough to provide satisfactory performance over a three-to-four year lifespan. For maximum flexibility consider a 2-in-1 style laptop that folds into a tablet for digital inking.
|Memory (RAM)||16GB highly recommended
32GB recommended for heavy graphics or visualization work
8GB minimum for tablets or basic use
|Storage||512GB or greater required; 256GB minimum|
|Processor||Core i5 or i7, or i9 or 4+ Cores (power user/gaming)|
Windows 10/11; macOS 13 (Ventura)
|Backups/Online File Storage (HIGHLY Recommended)||Cloud based subscription such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive highly recommended|
|Warranty||Most new computers come with a manufacturer's 1-year warranty.
It's recommended to increase to 3-4 years.
Windows or Mac?
None of our programs directly recommend Windows or MacOS. It's a personal preference. However, many courses use software that only runs on Windows. MacOS users may need to remotely connect to software (Citrix) or use virtualization software (Parallels or VirtualBox) to run Windows software on MacOS. Additionally, a Windows operating system license must be purchased to run Windows using one of these virtual applications.
The Illini Union Tech Zone provides educational discounts on purchases. They are also an authorized Apple repair center.
Network Bandwidth Requirements
Broadband wired or wireless is recommended for video. Below are minimum requirements for typical video conferencing functions.
- For 1:1 video calling:
- For high-quality video: 600kbps (up/down)
- For 720p HD video: 1.2Mbps (up/down)
- For 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
- For group video calling:
- For high-quality video: 1.0 Mbps/600kbps (up/down)
- For 720p HD video: 2.6Mbps/1.8Mbps (up/down)
- For 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
- For gallery view receiving: 2.0Mbps (25 views), 4.0Mbps (49 views)
Other Recommended Accessories
|Considerations||Internal laptop mic and speakers may not be satisfactory for online meetings or calls, especially in a shared space. (USB or Bluetooth)||If your system does not have an integrated camera, consider an external webcam (or your phone...effective!)||Adapters for connecting to external displays or projection devices. USB-C and HDMI are the most common.|
|Recommended Models||Logitech H390 USB Headset
Microsoft LifeChat LX 6000
Plantronics Voyager 4220 UC
|Apple USB-C Multi adapter
Microsoft USB-C Travel Hub
Dell USB-C Adapter
Grainger College of Engineering Software for Students
Engineering WorkStations (EWS) labs maintain a large number of installed software packages requested by faculty that teach in our labs and are available to Grainger College of Engineering students.
EWS also offers Remote Access to engineering software applications outside the lab made available to students for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments.
Visit the UIUC Webstore for other software available to students.
Student Assistance Center
If a student does not have access to functional computers or internet connectivity, they can contact the Student Assistance Center at 217-333-0050 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Center serves as the first point of contact for students who contact the Office of the Dean of Students. The Assistant Deans help students understand university policies and procedures, educate them about and connect them to campus resources, and support students in crisis.
Contact Engineering IT
Need more help? Reach out to Engineering IT at email@example.com or 217-333-1313.
Short URL for this page: https://go.illinois.edu/TechforStudents