Computing & Information Services

Computing At Reed Q & A

How are computers used in courses?

Students at Reed use computers in almost every area of the curriculum. For example, computers are used in collection and analysis of data in the natural sciences, composition and design in the arts, statistical analysis and simulation in the social sciences, text analysis in the humanities, and many other applications. Nearly all students and faculty members at Reed use computers extensively for email, word processing, web research, and other activities. A growing number of classes use interactive web resources to share materials, augment classroom discussions, and facilitate collaboration.

What types of computers are used at Reed?

A majority of the Reed community chooses to use Macintosh computers. Reed operates an Apple-certified repair facility for Apple hardware, and offers excellent software support for both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Some Reedies choose to use Windows or Linux because they require software such as geographic information systems (GIS) or specialized statistical analysis packages.

What computing facilities are available for students?

Many students use the information resource centers (IRCs) in the Educational Technology Center (ETC). The IRCs are open 24/7 for coursework, independent projects, or just catching up on email. There are 60 Macintosh computers with a wide range of installed software—from Adobe Photoshop to the Reed-developed PopBio simulation program. Scanners and printing (including color printing) are available here, too. Computers for specialized work are available in labs across campus including studio art, biology, chemistry, music, physics, psychology, the language lab, the Public Policy Workshop, and the Dorothy Johansen House.

Should I own a computer or printer?

We strongly recommend that you purchase a Macintosh computer to use while you are at Reed. The Reed College Computer Store offers recommended models at an educational discount, and you can save on sales tax if you buy though the Computer Store. During Back To School, students can choose from several computer and software special bundles available through the Store. Details about those deals, and other information about how to order them, will be available in early summer.

Check out Reed's Computer Store for current product information and online ordering from Reed. Please note that product does have to ship to Reed first, and you will need proof of acceptance to the college to place your order. If you prefer to buy directly from Apple, visit our page at the Apple Store for Education and order a computer to be shipped directly to you.

For those who wish to buy a Windows machine, we recommend one that is running Windows 8 or 7, has at least 8GB of ram, and has built-in wireless or ethernet. If you already own a computer running Vista, upgrading is not necessary. Older versions (XP, ME, 2000, 98, NT, and 95) are no longer supported by Microsoft and not recommened.

A printer is optional. Students can use laser printers in the residence halls, the library, or IRCs for 8¢ a page, billed automatically to their account. Each year, the first $20 of printing is free. Color printing is available in the IRCs, library, and printing services, but not in the dorms, so if you plan to print in color a lot, buying an ink jet printer may be warranted.

More detailed computer recommendations and prices for both Macintosh and Windows systems will be mailed to you this summer.

What kind of networking does Reed have?

Reed has a high-speed wired and wireless network that reaches all residence halls and academic buildings. Students can connect their own computers to access email, course materials, the online library materials, printers, and other resources at Reed and on the internet.

What is necessary to connect to the campus network?

Wired (ethernet) or wireless (802.11b, g or n) connections are standard on almost every new computer. You’ll need an ethernet cable to make a wired connection. You should also be sure to bring all the original CDs or DVDs that came with your computer and software. Reed provides site-licensed antivirus software for both Windows and Macintosh computers; you can download it once you arrive on campus. Windows computers on the Reed network are required to have up-to-date system and antivirus software.

What if I need help?

Computer User Services (usually known as CUS) provides all sorts of computer help to students. The CUS help desk can assist with software issues including installing and using software, printing, and using the labs. The help desk is open until midnight on school nights. CUS also operates an Apple-certified hardware repair shop and can repair your Mac no matter where you bought it. For Windows hardware repairs, we suggest that you work with your manufacturer. If your Windows computer is out of warranty, we can recommend a local repair shop. Reed's help desk, repair shop, and store are all located on the first floor of the Educational Technology Center (ETC).

Does Reed have an online Learning Management System for course resources?

Reed uses Moodle, a Learning Management System, which allows faculty to create online communities for the purpose of sharing course materials with their students or for collaborative work. A Moodle course may contain a variety of interactive resources, such as wikis, discussion forums, quizzes, and surveys. Students who take a course that uses Moodle will be automatically enrolled in the Moodle course and have access to its materials and activities.

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I have questions about computing — where can I get more information?

You can find more information about computing at Reed by visiting our web sites:

If you have specific questions about what kind of computer to purchase, contact the Reed College Computer Store at or 503/777-7253.