MCECS Chromebook Loaner Program

/MCECS Chromebook Loaner Program
MCECS Chromebook Loaner Program2020-09-23T18:14:08+00:00

MCECS Chromebook Loaner Program

Computer labs in FAB/EB are closed due to Covid-19 concerns. All MCECS classes for Fall 2020 have been moved to remote teaching. Students will need to have a computer capable of participating in these classes.

A generous group of MCECS faculty have contributed their classroom/outreach Chromebook collections towards a collegewide loaner pool. MCECS students who do not have a working computer of their own can request a loan of one of these Chromebooks for the duration of the term.

What is a Chromebook?

Unlike a general purpose computer, such as a regular laptop running Windows/Linux/MacOS, a Chromebook is a laptop-like mobile computer that runs Google’s Chrome web browser. It is designed for interacting with web-based remote services. There are many add-ons available that enhance the Chromebook to provide the functionality needed by many communications applications.

Although the Chromebooks in the pool are of varying vintages and have seen a lot of use in MCECS, we have been able to test them for the following services that we expect to see used by many remotely taught classes.

  • General web browsing
  • Gmail
  • D2L – For coursework
  • media.pdx.edu / youtube.com – for hosted class videos
  • Zoom – For remote teaching and instructor/team communication
  • Hangouts/Meet – For remote teaching and instructor/team communication
  • Using rdp.cecs.pdx.edu to login to remote Windows computer labs in MCECS
    • Using MobaXterm on remote Windows computers to run graphical applications on Linux computers
  • Using SSH to login to remote Linux systems in MCECS

NOTE: You cannot install Windows/Mac software on a Chromebook. The only applications you can install are Chrome add-ons which function as “apps” to assist with certain functions.

While a Chromebook may not be as versatile as a general purpose laptop, it is known to work for many MCECS class needs that involve remotely accessing computer systems at PSU or related online services. Note that it requires a wifi connection to function. Use your PSU Google Account to customize your profile, attach to your Google Drive for storage, and to download add-ons.

How to request a Chromebook from MCECS?

The CAT is managing the MCECS Chromebook Loaner Program. Click on the button below to go to the MCECS Chromebook request form. Make sure that your web browser is logged into your PSU Google Account before clicking on the button.

Go to the MCECS Chromebook Request Form

 

The MCECS Chromebook pool is limited. We will respond to your request via email and, based on approval, arrange a method to pick up the Chromebook.

What if you need a regular laptop?

A Chromebook cannot meet all the functionality provided by a regular laptop. A laptop can run full applications and input/output connectivity for a wide range of devices. If you are interested in a regular laptop, try the PSU Library which has an equipment loan program that includes Dell laptops. Due to the remote teaching mandate, they are extending their loan periods to one term.

https://library.pdx.edu/study-spaces-computers/equipment/

On that site, you will need to identify the laptops from their chromebooks (which are also referred to as “laptops”).

What if you need an Internet connection?

Chromebooks, in particular, and any sort of remote classwork will require access to a wifi based Internet connection. If you do not have Internet connectivity, here are some options.

Comcast (Xinifity) is offering free access to their wifi hotspots (even for non subscribers) as well a 60 days of free service for new Internet Essentials customers.

https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19

All four major mobile carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) and others are offering the ability to use your cell phone as a wifi hotspot.

https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected

Look for low cost Internet access plans

https://www.digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/