New Student Technology Information

  1. Where can I get answers to my questions about computing at Luther?
  2. Do I need a computer?
  3. Can I get connected to the Internet from my room?
  4. Can I setup my own network in my room?
  5. Is there wireless Internet on campus?
  6. If I buy a computer, what type should I buy?
  7. Should I buy a laptop or desktop?
  8. Will the computer I have already work?
  9. What else will I need to buy?
  10. What about viruses and malware?
  11. When will I get my email account?
  12. Will my classes use the Internet and computers?
  13. Will the Help Desk fix my computer?
  14. Can I use my computer skills in a work-study job?
  15. Can I get at my Luther personal information online?
  16. What about using a cell phone at Luther?
  17. How Can I Replace a Lost or Damaged ID Card?
  18. Parents attend a presentation about much of this information. Is there a copy online?

Do I need a computer?

Most Luther students bring a computer to campus, but it’s not required. Luther has over 500 computers in 20+ general computing labs and classrooms including mini labs in most residence halls. In additional, there are specialized departmental labs, computer stations in the Union, Kiosks in various locations around campus (e.g. Union, Preus Library, Koren, Sampson-Hoffland, Regents Center) and laptops available for check out in the Library.

Can I get connected to the Internet from my room?

Yes. All students living in the dorms have access to ResNet, a high speed Internet connection that is provided at no additional charge. More information can be found at the ResNet Service Page

Can I setup my own network in my room?

No. In order to preserve the health of the campus network, individuals are not allowed to connect personal routers or switches to their network port. This restriction includes personal wireless devices such as routers, hubs, or switches (a.k.a. access points). While these devices are often desirable to individual users, use can interfere with the network and cause large-scale network outages. Luther’s wireless initiative aims to provide wireless access to public spaces in residence halls when technically feasible.

Is there wireless Internet on campus?

Yes. Wireless Internet is available in all campus buildings and residence halls. For best performance on Luther’s wireless network, make sure your device supports 802.11ac wireless standard. Most current devices support this. Note that as of Fall 2016, 802.11b is no longer supported on campus. (Other wireless standards will work but at decreased performance.) Visit https://www.luther.edu/helpdesk/wirelessnetworks/ for complete information.

If I buy a computer, what type should I buy?

Luther does not require a specific brand or type of computer, nor do we sell new computers. However we do recommend the following two companies, Apple and Dell, who offer discounts to students. Because Luther purchases computers from Apple and Dell, there are promotions available at the links below.

As a general rule, the higher the specifications on a computer, the longer its useful lifespan will be. Every year, ITS rolls out new computers to the faculty. The below are the technical specs of the machines they’ll be receiving this year. We hope this gives you an idea of what we think will work for the faculty and maybe an idea of what to purchase for yourself.

Dell Laptop
Dell Latitude E5470, 2.40 GHz, dual-core Intel Core i5-6300U processor, 8 GB RAM, 500GB hybrid hard drive, no optical drive, 14-inch widescreen display, wireless, EPEAT Gold, Office 2016, Windows 7.

Dell Desktop
Dell Optiplex 3040 Small Form Factor (SFF), 3.2GHz, quad-core Intel Core i5 6500 Processor, 8GB RAM, 500GB hybrid hard drive, 19” widescreen LCD monitor, EPEAT Gold, Office 2016, Windows 7.

Apple Laptop
MacBook Pro, 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB PCIe-based flash storage, no optical drive, 13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina widescreen display, Intel Iris Graphics 6100, approx weight 3.48 lbs, battery life up to 10 hours, wireless, EPEAT Gold, Office 2016, Mac OS X El Capitan.

Apple Desktop
iiMac, 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 21.5-inch LED-backlit display, Intel Iris Pro graphics, EPEAT Gold, Office 2016, Mac OS X El Capitan.

Should I buy a laptop or desktop?

This comes down to a personal choice. Personal laptops are not required nor expected. A laptop takes up less space and with a wireless card, can be used just about anywhere on campus. The cost of a laptop is higher though. Desktop computers are cheaper and generally have more power. However, you will give up space in your room plus have to purchase a monitor, external keyboard, and mouse.

Will the computer I have already work?

Any computer made in the past five years with a 10/100 Mbs Ethernet card will work on Luther’s network. Older operating systems such as those prior to Windows Vista and OSX 10.9 are not allowed on Luther's registered network, may experience some troubles and are not necessarily supported by the Help Desk.

What else will I need to buy?

It is highly recommended you bring a CAT5 or CAT6 network (Ethernet) cable. Even if you plan on using wireless, a cable can help. The Technology Help Desk also recommends bringing a USB Thumb Drive or Flash Drive.

Luther College is a Google Apps for Education institution. Therefore, we use Google Email, Calendar, and Docs and these are available at no cost to you. In addition, Microsoft Office (specifically Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) is available on lab and classroom computers.

What about viruses and malware?

In order to connect to ResNet, all computers must have up-to-date anti-virus software and critical security patches. The network will search for and quarantine computers that do not comply.

You can use antivirus programs like Sophos, McAfee, Norton, Symantec, or AVG, some of which are free and/or included with your computer’s operating system. For more information, visit https://www.luther.edu/helpdesk/antivirus/.

Spyware and Malware has become a major problem with computers in recent years. See our Safe Computing page for information on how to stay safe and keep your computer healthy. Should you become infected or have troubles with viruses, the Help Desk can provide tools and information to assist you. See more at the Virus Removal page.

When will I get my email account?

When you apply to Luther, you will receive an email notification that contains your Luther Norse Key. Keep it in a safe place as your Norse Key is the user name and password to access my.luther.edu to check your application status, your pending correspondence, your Luther financial aid data and search for course sections. Once you are admitted to Luther, you will be able to use your Norse Key for your Luther email, web pages, network storage, access to online course material, and Library resources. You will have access to these services long before you show up to Luther and can begin using your Norse Key immediately.

Will my classes use the Internet and computers?

Luther classes often make use of a variety of Internet and computer resources. Many professors use KATIE which allows them to make announcements, post assignments, give quizzes, and more. Your first experience with KATIE will be during Student Registration and Placement Tests.

Will the Help Desk fix my computer?

The Technology Help Desk will make minor to moderate repairs to personal computers at no charge, however the owner is responsible for the cost of parts. Typical services include boot and driver issues, OS installs, hard drive failures, some component replacement, etc. We don't cover all major repairs or repair phones, gaming consoles, printers, etc. We reserve the right to refuse service, and the owner assumes all liability. Repairs are accepted as workload allows and typically not during breaks, summer, J-term, or during the first two weeks of the semester. For more information see our Desktop & Laptop Support page.

Can I use my computer skills in a work-study job?

Good with computers? Enjoy helping people? Then considering filling out an application with the Help Desk or Multimedia. We hire in J-Term and Spring semesters and do not require you to be an MIS or CS major. Visit https://www.luther.edu/its/about/recruitments/ for more information and to apply.

Can I get at my Luther personal information online?

Much of your personal Luther information – grades, class registration, and financial documents – are available at http://my.luther.edu/. Access is protected by your Norse Key.

What about using a cell phone at Luther?

Current students have found that many different providers and coverage plans service the Decorah area, but it’s a good idea to check with your provider. It’s also a good idea to get some experience with using your cell phone on campus before relying on it as your primary means of communication. The physical structure of some campus buildings may impede clear connections.

Providers with a local Decorah office include:

How Can I Replace a Lost or Damaged ID Card?

ID Cards can be replaced by visiting the Dining Services office in the Union. More information can be found at http://www.luther.edu/dining/identificationcards/.

Parents attend a presentation about much of this information. Is there a copy online?

Yes, the most recent presentation (2016) is right here.