Jesse Plaza, a systems and communications engineer at St. Edward’s, answers students’ questions. 

What IT support is available to me?

One of the best resources is the Office of Information Technology’s support page. Run by the university’s Help Desk, you’ll find information about taking an online course, software and hardware discounts, and the online support center. For specific questions, support [at] stedwards.edu (submit a case) to the Help Desk. 

How do I stay focused?

  1. Manage your notifications. Too many notifications interrupt focus — and can make your work ultimately take longer. Limit distractions by minimizing notifications when you are studying to keep your focus.
  2. Make to-do lists. Lists create routine, which helps you stay on track with assignments and school-related activities.
  3. Use a calendar. Even though appointments and classes are all virtual, a calendar can ensure you never miss a class. Your St. Edward’s email account uses Google Calendar and can sync with your smartphone apps.

Do I need to buy a new computer?

If you already have a laptop that is working with your Zoom calls and coursework, you shouldn’t go out and buy a new one. But if you do need to purchase one, several retailers are offering sales for people working remotely. Dell, Lenovo and other vendors have laptops that are $300 to $400. Jesse and his team have found that most students need about 4 gigs of ram, 20 gigs of hard-drive space and a webcam/mic.

What level of bandwidth do I need?

Anyone can conduct an online speed test to check internet connection. Fast.com and speedtest.net are two resources Jesse recommends. If your connection is 5 megabits per second or higher, the connection should be fine, he says. If you don’t have the speed you want, disconnect other devices from your WiFi to extend your bandwidth to your main device.

Many internet and phone providers are also offering temporary data increases and mobile hotspots, so connecting your computer to your wireless hotspot can boost your connection, too.

How should I store my work?

Consider saving everything to Google Drive or Box, which all members of the university community have access to and are cloud-based storage solutions. Both allow students to save and share documents with others and edit versions.