Two men look at laptops on a table. Photo by Code Ninja on Unsplash

Two men look at laptops on a table. Photo by Code Ninja on Unsplash

Distance digital education requires a basic knowledge of the hardware and software of computers. You do not need a deep knowledge of hardware and software, but you should have enough basic knowledge that you can solve common problems yourself before calling for help from friends, family, or your college IT department. By the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  1. Correctly identify different parts of a home computer network.
  2. Troubleshoot hardware and software problems that could compromise your learning.
  3. Identify software and how it works that you will need for college coursework.

➡️ Did you know? Most students will use a laptop or desktop personal computer for their coursework. Though many students try, it is is exceedingly difficult to succeed in college using only a tablet or a cell phone. If at all possible, you are highly encourage to find access to a laptop or desktop computer when completing your distance digital coursework. This computer can be shared with family, friends, or your community, such as a computer at a library or community center.

Many students buy refurbished computers that have similar warranties to new computers, for a lot less money. Your college may also have laptop checkout program or your college may be able to direct you to local non-profit organizations that sell refurbished computers for a low-costs. For guidance on using your current computer or possibly purchasing a computer for college, see this chart.

Old computer? Free software can turn an old Windows and Mac laptop into a Chromebook. See this Consumer Reports article for background information and links to instructions on how to do it.

Next up:

What do you know about hardware?

All of Lesson 4 pages

The basics of computer network hardware.

Wires matter


Using Apps for College