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Connect to Tech
As you transition to life at Penn State, it’s important to understand the technology resources available to you as a student. This guide introduces you to some of the University’s most important Information Technology (IT) resources, ranging from how to access free software downloads to connecting to wireless.
Your Penn State Access Account consists of two parts—your user ID and your password—and is the key to a host of services at the University, including help desks, LionPATH, the Internet, Penn State WebMail, University Libraries, computer labs, and much more.
Your User ID
Your user ID (or username) is automatically assigned to you and usually consists of your initials and a one- to four-digit number (such as xyz5000). This user ID is unique to you and follows you throughout your entire Penn State student career. The beginning part of your Penn State email address is, in general, the same as your user ID (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your Penn State password is the private part of your digital identity. It’s very important that you protect and guard it as if it were your personal bank account information or your Social Security number. Change your password and set your security questions as soon as you activate your Access Account.
Create strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and only log in to secure sites that have “https” at the beginning of the URL. For more information, check out Penn State's guidelines for creating strong passwords.
Never share your password with anyone! This includes friends, family, and significant others. Penn State will never email you asking for your password.
If you suspect your password has been compromised, change your password immediately and contact the Office of Information Security to report the incident.
Watch out for email hoaxes, phishing scams, virus attacks, and malware. Don’t respond to email requests for money or personal information, and be wary of links included in the body of messages. It never hurts to contact a company representative to check if an email is valid. You can find out more about staying safe online by visiting Penn State's Online Safety and Security site.
Intellectual property laws and guidelines can be complex and difficult to navigate. For information on copyright awareness at Penn State, visit Copyright and Legal Media at Penn State.
With the exception of White Course Family Housing at University Park campus, all Penn State residence halls and buildings have access to WiFi at no additional cost, and getting connected is easy to do with your Penn State Access Account. Some devices—gaming consoles and printers, for example—will not work with Penn State wireless, so be sure to invest in a CAT5 Ethernet cable if you plan on using a wired connection.
For more information, including what you’ll need to access the service, visit the Penn State wireless service site. To set up and troubleshoot Internet connections in your residence hall, contact Residential Computing (ResCom).
As a Penn State student, you have unlimited cloud-based storage space on Box at Penn State. Box lets you securely access your projects, documents, photos, and more from any device, anywhere in the world, at any time just by logging in with your Penn State Access Account.
ANGEL (and Canvas)Your professor may post lessons, give quizzes, and collect assignments through ANGEL, or its soon-to-be replacement, Canvas. These course management systems help you keep assignments organized, communicate with professors and classmates, and keep track of your grades. Although Canvas won’t be implemented University-wide until summer 2017, some professors have chosen to start using it early.
LionPATHLionPATH is the student information system where you can view transcripts, access financial aid information, pay tuition bills, schedule courses, and much more.
WebMailWebMail is Penn State’s online email client where you’ll receive all emails sent to your Penn State email address. You can organize messages into mailboxes, add signatures, access directories, and more by signing in with your Penn State Access Account.
Student Computing Labs are available for you to use at various locations throughout your campus. The lab machines come equipped with many of the software titles required for classes and offer both color and black-and-white printing capabilities. You can find lab locations, check computer availability, and learn more about printing by visiting the Classroom and Lab Computing website.
Did you know you can download Microsoft Office and antivirus software at no additional cost using your Penn State Access Account? A variety of software for Windows, Mac, and UNIX/Linux operating systems are available for you to download.
Your Penn State Access Account gives you free access to thousands of high-quality tutorials, day or night, from lynda.com. Lynda tutorials range from Photoshop and HTML coding to business and communication tips. These lessons are created by industry experts and offer levels ranging from beginner to intermediate and beyond.
Some classes use multimedia projects to replace traditional term papers and tests or supplement course lessons. The Media Commons is available at many Penn State campuses to help you excel in these digital projects.
You can also film a video in the One Button Studio, a simplified production area available at a growing number of campus locations. Take advantage of the free equipment, facilities, and experts that will help you stand out.
Before you purchase a new computer, we encourage you to check with your department or college to see if there are specific recommendations you should follow. If you are bringing a used machine, make sure it has the minimum capabilities recommended. Below is a table of recommendations from Classroom and Lab Computing (also be sure to check with your department or college).
|Processor||Intel Core i3||Intel Core i5||Intel Corei7|
|Hard Drive||25OGB||250-500GB Solid-State Drive||500GB Solid-State Drive|
|Processor||Intel Core i3||Intel Core i5||Intel Corei7|
|Hard Drive||512GB||1TB 7200 RPM Drive||256GB Solid-State Drive|
|Video RAM||512MB||512MB-1GB||1GB or higher|
|Storage||16GB Flash Storage||32GB Flash Storage||64GB Flash Storage|
|Resolution||1024 x 768||1024 x 768||1024 x 768|
IT Service Desk
The Help Request Portal is the place to go if you need to troubleshoot or request help with such services as WebMail, Access Accounts, course management systems, and more. You can browse available services and check the status of your help requests by visiting the service desk website or calling 814-865-HELP (4357).
If you’d like to get help in person, visit an IT Service Desk at one of their convenient locations.
Need help with a particular software or technology-based course assignment? Contact the Tech Tutors for help. These student tutors can guide you through such software as Photoshop, Prezi, InDesign, Excel, and many more.
Click! for More
The Click! blog offers plenty of student-focused technology tips, interviews with current Penn State students, and profiles of commonly used websites. Check the blog often to see what’s new.