This article provides information about the technology you need to study efficiently and effectively from home.
Before considering the technical aspects of what equipment you will need, it is important to establish a safe and comfortable place to work from, and to make sure that you are taking care of your wellbeing. For more information, check the Top Tips for adapting to remote learning.
Support for students
We understand that some of you will have concerns that they do not have access to technology, and we aim to support you as much as we can. All students were invited to complete a self-assessment about their home arrangements during the Easter Vacation. The University and Colleges are now analysing this feedback, and further information will follow in the near future about support that might be made available if you raised concerns about your individual circumstances.
General computing requirements
You can do many things on your smartphone or tablet for short periods. However, to work safely for long periods of time, we recommend a computer or laptop with a screen size no less than 12 inches.
Any additional equipment you need will depend on what tasks you want to accomplish. The list below outlines various tasks and the equipment needed to achieve them.
Connection to the Internet
It is critical to communicate with others outside your household. Where possible we recommend broadband connection (see: general broadband advice). However, if you do not currently have broadband at home but do have a smart phone, then you can setup a mobile data connection instead, for guidance on how to do this please consult the help pages of your mobile phone network.
Microsoft office is available to download free whilst you are a student. This will give you access to the full Office suite. These applications are also available online, frequently the desktop versions offer more functionality.
Microsoft office, is available to all current staff and students to download, it includes; Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook etc. You can easily download Office by going to www.office.com and clicking Install office in the upper right corner after you sign in with your University credentials
We recommend and support use of Microsoft Office applications for word processing, data manipulation, presentations and communication with others.
Making a video call / joining a video call or tutorial
Required: mobile, tablet, or computer with a camera and microphone
Headset or conference phone are ideal but built-in speakers and microphone on device are perfectly acceptable. Occasionally the latter setup causes feedback, and lots of background noise compared to a headset. Mobile phone headsets are variable when used with videoconferencing systems. Please test and ask other participants whether they can hear you clearly and at a good volume compared to other participants in the call.
Many devices have a built-in camera, but external web cams are comparatively cheap and easy-to-use, many web cams also have a built-in microphone, which helps to separate the speakers from the mic thus avoiding feedback. If your internet connection is limited, we recommend disabling your camera to reduce the bandwidth required.
Your choice of browser will depend on your operating system to a large extent but popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox are available for most operating systems. Windows 10 has the Edge browser built-in, which works best with Microsoft web apps.
Whether working on site or away from Oxford it is vitally important to keep your work secure by protecting your device(s). Sophos is the recommended antivirus software and is free to use for as long as you are a registered student at Oxford. Make sure you have backup copies of your work in separate places to avoid any losses if your machine breaks down, compromised or is lost or stolen.