Student Computer Recommendations
The College recommends a laptop as the best type of computer for use by students while at MICA. Laptops take up the least amount of space in students' apartments, can be carried to class and provide mobile computing on the College's wireless network. All current laptops have wireless network adapters but if you think you will have reason to plug into MICA's network directly, you will want to buy a laptop with an Ethernet adapter or purchase a USB/Ethernet external adapter (about $20) so that it can be plugged directly into the network jack in your room. Bring along an Ethernet cable of at least 15 feet. You should be able to purchase a cable from Bestbuy or some other technology store for less than $15.
If you plan to become a Graphic Design major, the recommended computer for that department is a Mac laptop. Buy the best computer within your budget. 2 GB of RAM should be the minimum. Get a model with a Superdrive so that you can write DVDs as well as CDs. Go to www.apple.com and choose the education store. When asked to select your college, choose Maryland Institute College of Art. You will see special discounts for college students.
Animation and Environmental Design
These two majors use software that is only available on the PC platform. Therefore, you should make certain you have a PC if you plan to enter one of these majors. We recommend buying a Dell computer. Laptops range in price from $700 to $2500. Look for specials as Dell runs these often. Upgrades or additional peripherals can often be gotten as parts of a special deal. Avoid laptops with Celeron processors since these will be less powerful. Look for Core-Duo or dual-core processors. Get at least 2 GB of RAM.
The software for animation requires a fairly powerful PC computer. Although students are not required to purchase this software, many do. Therefore, it is a good idea to get the best computer you can afford if you plan to become a computer animation major or get involved in 3D modeling on the computer. Get a computer with a good video card. A solid video card of 512 MB- 1 GB is an absolute requirement for a good 3D machine.
Environmental Design uses AutoCAD software. Again, students are not required to purchase this software on their own but some do.
Other Majors and General information
While at MICA, you will want a computer to access the College network and the Internet, to send email, write papers, do research, edit images and video and store music. Any up-to-date computer will suffice for these purposes. We do have the following recommendations:
Mac Laptop 2 GB RAM or Dell Laptop with at least 2 GB RAM
USB 2.0 or 3.0 interface (for attaching cameras, external hard drives, scanners, etc)
CD/DVD writable drive
Windows Vista/7 on a PC
OS X on a MAC
The Adobe Design/Web Suite 6 will be provided for you as part of your Technology Fee. You will be given instructions on how to acquire your copy of the suite once you arrive at MICA. The suite includes Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign, Dreamweaver and many other important software titles. These will be upgraded for you as versions change during your time at MICA.
Google Apps is part of the web-based software package you will have access to as a MICA student. This includes Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts, Google Docs, Google Books, Google Drive (for storing files) Picassa,(for storing images), and a host of other applications.
Moodle will be your Learning Management System and will be used by all classes to communicate with you concerning class documents, book lists, assignments, etc. Moodle can be accessed through the MyMICA portal.
Lynda.Com - Lynda is a web-based training package to help you learn all of the important software that you will be using at MICA. This includes most software in all disciplines. You can create your own account and track your progress, receive certificates for completion of lessons and communicate your success to your instructors.
Anti-Virus - You should definitely install anti-virus software on your computer. This is VERY important since you will be connecting to a large network at MICA where the chances of coming in contact with a destructive virus are much greater than you might be used to working at home. Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee Anti-Virus are both excellent programs and should absolutely be installed on your computer.
Theft Prevention - There are multiple ways you can safeguard your laptop or mobile device while at MICA. I your have an Apple product, use iCloud to create a Track my iPod/iPad/Laptop account. This will give you real-time information about the location of your device if it becomes lost or stolen. If you need help in setting this up, please come to the Tech Desk. You can also use the free Front Door Software application that can be downloaded for your Mac or PC from the portal. Just log-in and go to Personal Information/Laptop Security Program. This software will track your device's location and disable it if it is stolen.
If you have any questions about purchasing a computer for your use at MICA, please contact the Help Desk at 410-225-2291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.