Home Computing Environment


Home Computing Environment

Please note that the School requires that prior to enrolling and starting the INFO 203 course (the content of which is required for MARA students as well as MLIS students) all incoming students have computer access in their homes with the following minimum hardware, as well as home internet access:

  • Processor:
    For PCs: Dual-Core Celeron, Core (Duo, Solo), Core 2 (Duo, Extreme), Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, Itanium, Xeon, or AMD Athlon, Turion, Sempron, X2 Dual-Core, Athlon II, Phenom II, FX, and A Series.
    For Macs: Intel-based processors (Core Duo/Solo, Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7)
  • Operating System:
    • For PC users: Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, or Windows 10.
    • For Mac users: MacOS v10.12 (Sierra) or v10.13 (High Sierra) or v10.14 (Mojave).
    • Chromebooks: Please note that Chromebooks are NOT supported.
  • RAM: 4.0 GB – 16.0 GB
  • Hard Drive: 100GB or greater. Solid State Drives (SSD) and ”Fusion” drives are acceptable, and are recommended where possible. 
  • Storage and Backup: External hard drives, USB Flash drives, and network-attached storage (NAS) options are strongly recommended. Students interested in cloud-based backup solutions are welcomed to explore such options, however, you are strongly encouraged to verify that the cloud provider has strong security in place to protect your data. You are also strongly encouraged to maintain local backups of your data as well, so that your data is protected in the event that the cloud storage provider goes out of business. Students are strongly encouraged to regularly back up critical documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF HTML files, etc). For Windows users, third-party software programs are available that coordinate automatic backups of data to an external hard drive. For Mac users, the Time Machine feature will allow you to set up automatic data backups to either an external hard drive or a network-attached Time Capsule drive. IMPORTANT NOTE: You are responsible for backing up anything you want to save from Canvas. If you have course work on Senna or another system, you are responsible for saving that. We strongly recommend that you keep extra backup copies of anything that might be needed for your e-Portfolio and that you back them up using one or more types of removable media.
  • Audio: Sound card and speakers. (NOTE: most systems now have a sound card integrated on the motherboard, so you likely will not need to purchase a separate sound card).
  • Headsets: Students are required to have a headset with a microphone. USB headsets are strongly recommended.
  • Printing: Local or networked printer (inkjet or laserjet).
  • Internet Connectivity: Access to a high-speed connection is required. Minimum requirement: 1 Mbps downstream.
  • Network Hardware: Any appropriate hardware for whatever type of Internet connection you have. For example: DSL modem, Cable-modem, Ethernet adapter, Mobile broadband card, MiFi (cellular WiFi base station), WiMAX modem, satellite dish, etc.

Technology Literacy Requirements

All students applying for admission to the School of Information must have the computer literacy skills described below. These skills will be assumed in all classes and will not be taught by the iSchool faculty or staff.

Have a working knowledge of the basic functions of a Windows or Mac operating system including the ability to:


Antivirus and Anti-Spyware Software

Antivirus Software

Students and faculty are responsible for installing and maintaining antivirus software on their home computers. It is a mandatory requirement for both students and faculty that they have antivirus software installed on their home computers, and that they keep their virus definitions up to date. 



All students are expected to have an email account at which they can reliably receive communications from their instructors. Students are responsible for any email communications that are missed due to Spam filtering or whitelisting services.

The iSchool strongly discourages the use of “waitlisting” services. Should students choose to use such services, they do so at their own risk and are responsible for any missed communications.


Microsoft Office

Microsoft has various editions that include the core products you will need (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). These editions include: Home and Student, Home and Business, Standard, Professional, Professional Plus, and Professional Academic.

Some Office 365 subscription plans provide access to a desktop Office suite which includes the most current versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you choose to use Office 365 as your primary resource, then please make sure that you obtain a subscription plan which includes access to the desktop applications.