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What kind of computer do I need?

Potential or incoming students sometimes ask what personal computer or software they should have when entering our CE program. We can offer these suggestions:

• The lab and classroom computers in the Engineering Building use the Microsoft Windows operating system, so students purchasing their own computer should keep in mind that they will likely have fewer problems if their computers use similar systems. Many students in the engineering programs have had good success using Macintosh computers, but you should ensure that whatever system you purchase will have suitable software installed to be compatible with a Windows environment.

• We generally use Microsoft Office applications Word and Excel for many course related activities (writing papers, tabulating and analyzing lab data, etc.), so it would be convenient for the student to have these or similar programs to use outside of their classes or labs. (In December 2010 we began transitioning from Office 2007 to Office 2010).

• If the student will want to connect to certain computer resources while on the campus network, particularly the Z drive private storage space residing on the Engineering Building server that is allotted to each engineering student, they will need to use at least the "Pro" version of Windows XP, Vista or 7. Many "netbook" type computers cannot use the "Pro" versions. Be sure that the computer you plan to purchase can run the "Pro" version of the operating system. Without the "Pro" version, the computer might still be able to connect to internet sites through the campus network.

• Students with a valid school ID can usually purchase academic versions of most commercial software at a significant discount. Some software is available at the campus bookstore and many other vendors also sell academic software versions.

• Software licensed to the University is only available for students to use on university-owned equipment. The CE department does not require students to purchase any software, nor does it normally provide software to students to install on their own computers. Occasionally, a specialized software package useful for a particular class may be made available to students, but the terms of the software license are strictly adhered to.

• The campus offers two wireless networks. One is considered to be not secure and the other is considered to be secure. You can learn more about the wireless network systems at http://www.siue.edu/its/wireless/index.shtml.

• For more information about computer support offered by SIUE, please go to http://www.siue.edu/its/students/index.shtml.

What kind of calculator do I need?

Students are encouraged to use calculators that are allowed to be used on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam which all CE students are strongly urged to take before graduating. The list of allowed calculators can be found at http://www.ncees.org/Exams/Exam-day_policies/Calculator_policy.php. The Civil Engineering Department does not require any particular calculator to be used. The ones allowed for the FE exam are relatively inexpensive. Students may use more powerful calculators than these for doing homework and taking quizzes and exams. However, any calculator that can also double as a web browser, cell phone or chat client is prohibited for use during quizzes and exams.