Computers and Computing


As a student in the college of engineering, you will automatically be issued an e-mail account to use the FirstClass Computer Conferencing and Bulletin Board system.  This gives you access to e-mail and a wide variety of “conferences.”  These conferences are used for courses, campus organizations and departments.  For example, there is a conference for CIE 110, which is accessible to all students registered for the Materials class.  During the first week of classes, you will be given your UserID and a preset password so that you can access this system.  For more information, please refer to the attachment:  “QuickGuide to using the FirstClass Computer Conferencing System.”  More information is also available from Instructional Technologies in the basement of Shibles Hall.

It is critical that you check the “CIVIL ENGINEERING” folder on a regular basis since this is the only place where important notices, scholarship information and job announcements are posted.


There are public computer clusters in the Union or the Library.  On the first floor of Boardman Hall, we have a computer cluster exclusively for civil, mechanical, spatial information engineering and engineering technology students with PCs running primarily Microsoft software*.

In the past, most students purchased their own computers and experience has shown that having a laptop computer readily accessible will be a great benefit to your college learning experience.  A satisfactory system meeting most of your needs during your four-year stay in college is obtainable for $1,000 to $2,000.    The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering recommends a laptop computer (wireless capable), running Windows 7 or Mac OSX, with an installed office productivity suite such as MS Office (Word, Excel, & PowerPoint), Apple iWork, or an Open Office variant. More specific software will be introduced in courses throughout the curriculum, and as versions change frequently, there is no reason to purchase these packages ahead of time.

Academic discounts are available at the Computer Connection located in the University Bookstore at the Memorial Union. For software, the discounts are significant, so we recommend you always check the Computer Connection before you purchase any software.

* In addition, Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering have a 10 unit cluster in Room 218 Boardman designated for advanced engineering software.