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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 Service Desks, LionPATH, the Internet, University email and calendaring, 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 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 secondary email address 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.
Stay Safe Online
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 website.
Intellectual property laws and guidelines can be complex and difficult to navigate. For information on copyright awareness, 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 Wi-Fi 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 and a USB printer cable if you plan on using a wired connection. If you prefer to use a wired connection in your residence hall, contact Residential Computing (ResCom).
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).
We want to know if you experience a slower connection, dropped service, or problem area with Penn State Wi-Fi. If you want to provide feedback about your wireless experience, fill out the Wireless Survey. If you need immediate help with your wireless connection, please contact the IT Service Desk.
Unlimited Cloud Storage
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.
Another cloud storage option is Microsoft OneDrive which lets you collaborate on and access files from anywhere in the world, at any time. With options to view files on both desktop and mobile devices, OneDrive helps you stay connected no matter where you are.
Three Sites to Know
Your professors may post lessons, give quizzes, and collect assignments through Canvas. This course management systems help you keep assignments organized, communicate with professors and classmates, and keep track of your grades. You can also link Canvas to University email and calendaring systems to receive up-to-date message notifications.
LionPATH is the student information system where you can view transcripts, access financial aid information, pay tuition bills, schedule courses, and much more.
Outlook 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.Please note that Penn State is transitioning from the previous email client, WebMail, to Outlook over the next year and you may see or use both systems.
Your Penn State Access Account gives you access to thousands of high-quality tutorials, day or night, from lynda.com. Lynda.com 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.
Student computer 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 Symantec antivirus software at no additional cost using your Penn State Access Account? Keep in mind, using multiple antivirus softwares makes your device less—not more—secure, so be sure to check if your computer is already equipped with antivirus software.
You can also download software titles like Microsoft Office at a significant discount or for free through Software at Penn State.
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.
The Maker Commons offers 3-D printing at no additional cost to any member of the Penn State community at any campus. Students at University Park also have access to the Invention Studio, where rapid prototyping of electronic devices helps your ideas become reality. Take advantage of the equipment, facilities, and experts that will help you stand out.
If you are planning to purchase a new computer, we encourage you to check with your department or college to see if there are specific recommendations you should follow. Below is a table from Classroom and Lab Computing of the minimum capabilities recommended.
|Processor||Intel Core m3 or i3||Intel Core m5 or i5||Intel Core i7|
|RAM||4GB||8GB||16GB or higher|
|Hard Drive||256GB||256-500GB solid-state drive||512GB or higher solid-state drive|
|Video CARD||Integrated||1-2GB nVidia GeForce and AMD Radeon||2GB or higher nVidia GeForce/Quadro or AMD Radeon/FirePro|
|Display Resolution||1366 x 768||1680 x 1050||1920 x 1080 (HD, Retina)|
|Processor||Intel Core i3||Intel Core i5||Intel Core i7|
|RAM||8GB||12GB||16GB or higher|
|Hard Drive||512GB-1TB 7200 RPM drive||1-2TB 7200 RPM Drive or 256GB solid-state drive||2TB or higher 7200 RPM Drive or 512GB or higher solid-state drive|
|Video RAM||Integrated||1-2GB nVidia GeForce/Quadro or AMD Radeon/FirePro||2GB or higher nVidia GeForce/Quadro or AMD Radeon/FirePro|
|Storage||16GB flash storage||32GB flash storage||64GB or higher flash storage|
|Resolution||1024 x 600||1280 x 800||2048 x 1536|
Have Questions or Need Help?
IT Service Desk
IT Service Desks are the place to go if you need to troubleshoot or request help with such services as University email and calendaring, Penn State Access Accounts, course management systems, and more. To get technology help in person, visit an IT service desk at one of their convenient campus locations. To request help online, complete this online form. Students at University Park can also reach a service desk staff member by calling 814-865-HELP (4357).
Need help with a particular software or technology-based course assignment? Contact the Tech Tutors for help. These student tutors can guide you through using such software as Photoshop, Prezi, InDesign, Excel, and many more. You can meet with a Tech Tutor in person or connect online for personalized tutoring via chat or screen sharing.
Click! for More
The Click! Connect to Tech 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. And be sure to follow the Click! Instagram, PennStateClick, for more tips and photos highlighting students’ experience with technology at Penn State.