Hello and welcome to “Quick Question,” the jcomm advising podcast. Today’s quick question is about laptops. If I’m a journalism major, do I need my own laptop?
The quick and easy answer is “no.” But this question dictates a more detailed answer. Do you need access to a computer? Yes. But in this day and age, that’s true of almost any major. The journalism school’s computer policy is that, and I quote, “Course work will be assigned with the assumption that students have access to a laptop computer. Some instructors will require in-class use of laptops.” (End quote)
The keyword here is “access.” If you don’t have your own computer, our expectation is that you at least have regular and reliable access to one, whether it be through a friend or roommate or through a laptop loan service.
Your course instructor will likely detail his or her technology expectations on the first day of class and/or in the class syllabus. You may even want to contact the instructor about these expectations before you register for the course.
If you are in the market for a computer, a couple of questions need answering. Should you get a desktop or a laptop? Should you get a Mac or a PC? Let’s tackle those one by one.
Should you get a desktop or a laptop? Now this is in no way a requirement but we do recommend a laptop. The J-school’s instructional technology coordinator (i.e. our head tech person) put it best, “Given the broad reach of the campus wireless network and the transient lifestyle of college students, (laptops) are a far better fit than a desktop computer.” (End quote)
So now: Mac vs. PC, which to get? The computers in the journalism school are primarily Apple computers (i.e. Macs). But our students are allowed to choose. We’re less concerned with what type of computer you have than with what your computer can do. In your earlier terms in the major, you will likely only need the basics: email, Internet and word processing. As you get deeper into the major, you may need additional software such as the Adobe Creative Suite or the FinalCut Suite. We do, however, recommend you wait to purchase these until you’re sure you need them for the long term. For short-term usage (that is if you’re just going to use them for one or two class assignments), these programs are available on the computers in the journalism school labs.
If you don’t have your own computer preference and are in the market for a new computer, check out the Technical Services section at the bottom of the J-school’s website. Our tech folks have posted their recommendation for computer hardware and software. Also, check out the prices at the Digital Duck, the UO Duck Store's computer store. They offer steep educational discounts. Even if you don't want to purchase the computer there, take their price list back to your vendor and see if your vendor will meet or beat that price.
“Quick Question” is an advising podcast provided by the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Visit the Student Services office in 101 Allen Hall, on the web at jcomm.uoregon.edu or on Twitter at SOJCAdvising.