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 over 40 Macintosh computers with a wide range of installed software—from design software to department specific applications. Macintosh and Windows computers are also available for student use in the Library. Scanners and printers (including color printing) are available in both the IRCs and the Library.

Computers for specialized work are available in labs across campus including studio art, biology, chemistry, music, physics, psychology, the language lab, the performing arts resource center (PARC), and the Dorothy Johansen House.

Additionally, laptops are available for short-term checkout from the Instructional Media Center (IMC) in the Library, and from the PARC in the performing arts building.

Should I own a computer or printer?

Many students choose to have their own computer at Reed.  Macintosh computers are the most popular option, but Windows and Linux computers are supported on campus as well. 

The Reed College Computer Store offers recommended Apple 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 10, has at least 8GB of ram, and has built-in wireless. 

Printers are provided for student use in residence halls and elsewhere on campus.  Printing is billed automatically to student accounts at 8¢ per side for B&W, 35¢ per side for color.  If you choose to bring your own printer to campus, be aware that its wireless functionality is not compatible with the campus network.

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 if I need help?

Computer User Services (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 computer store are all located on the first floor of the Educational Technology Center (ETC).

Where can I find course materials online?

Many faculty members at Reed use Moodle, a learning management system, to extend class interactions beyond the walls of the classroom. Moodle course pages may feature discussion forums, quizzes, or places for students to work collaboratively online. Many course readings are available through library electronic reserves on Moodle course pages, giving students direct access to class readings from anywhere. Students who take a course that uses Moodle will automatically get access to the materials and activities on the Moodle course page.

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.