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Admitted Students Guide: Computing and Information Services

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Read answers to common technology questions from incoming graduate students. If you have a question that's not addressed here, please get in touch with the IT Service Center.


Brown University requires that all community members behave responsibly and legally in their use of the Universityʼs computing resources.

To activate an account, a student must agree to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy and the Copyright Infringement Policy. To use a computer on the network on campus, a student must agree to comply with the Network Connection Policy.

These policies, and other policies that govern specific services, can be found on the web at Students who do not comply will be held personally responsible for violations, including those associated with illegal downloads of copyrighted materials.

IT Service Center
CIS' IT Service Center offers technical support to members of the Brown community. If you have trouble with any computing services, such as getting connected to wifi, please get in touch or stop by. You can also sign out loaner laptops and multimedia equipment for courses. The IT Service Center can be reached at 401 863-HELP (4357),, or by visiting us in the lobby of the CIT building at 115 Waterman Street. For hours and more information, see

Stay Informed
Please visit for information about IT services, self-help resources, and technology tips and news; CIS is also on Twitter and Facebook as @ITatBrown.

Network Access
A secure wireless network called “Brown” covers most of campus. To connect your computer, smartphone, or tablet to wifi for the first time, temporarily connect to the Brown-Guest (unsecured) network, visit, and follow the prompts. For your off-campus residence, the Brown Bookstore Technology Center offers discounted high-speed Internet access through Verizon FIOS.

Personal Computers
We recommend packing everything that came with your computer, including installation discs, cables, and warranty information. For incoming students purchasing a computer, CIS recommends Dell and Apple computers; Brown’s Computer Store offers educational discounts and warranty repairs for these two brands. For more information, see

CIS provides a wide variety of software packages for use by the Brown community, including Microsoft Office, anti-virus, and computational products. The complete listing of available software can be found at Additional software is available in computing labs.

Computing Labs
Several computing labs containing Windows and Macintosh computers are located on the Brown campus. Those in the CIT and SciLi are open 24 hours a day (except for Friday and Saturday); the remaining locations are open 12 to 16 hours a day. There is a dedicated computing lab restricted to graduate students located on the second floor of the Rockefeller Library. You can swipe your Brown ID card to enter this room. It contains two Macintosh and ten Windows computers in addition to a high-speed laser printer. For more information about computing labs, see Specialized multimedia labs offer equipment and software for a wide variety of disciplines including 3D modeling and animation, filmmaking, electronic music, and hypertext authoring. For locations and hours, see

Printers are located in computing labs, libraries, and other campus locations. There is a nominal fee for printing, for which you will receive a credit at the beginning of the year. After printing from a lab or your personal computer, swipe your Brown ID card at a print release station to pay and release your print job. For printer locations and instructions, see

Graduate students are welcome at both staff-led Computer Education training sessions and undergraduate-led sessions in the Professional and Academic Skills for Students (PASS) program. Topics include PowerPoint, Excel, Filemaker, and Photoshop as well as other Brown software and services. Individualized training and consultation is also available upon request. For more information, see

Training and consultation for instructional technologies is provided by CIS' Instructional Technology group. 

Academic Technology Services:

Instructional Technology Group
The mission of the Instructional Technology Group (ITG) is to support teaching and learning at Brown through researching and promoting new technologies and providing consultation on effective pedagogical practices. The group offers course management support, workshops, showcases, and consultation to faculty and graduate students interested in exploring how technology might enhance their teaching and learning practices. Additionally, ITG provides design and development support to faculty and graduate student instructors requesting academic technology projects  to meet their instructional goals.

Course Management allows instructors to submit a syllabus for students to view during shopping period, as well as request tools and services for courses including Canvas course sites, course blogs, and Google course groups.

Canvas (, Brown’s course management system, allows faculty to extend the classroom experience online. Faculty can quickly and easily create course web sites where they can post syllabi, electronic readings, online assignments and assessments, and links to course-related resources, multimedia and online-discussion and chat groups, giving students 24/7 access to course resources. 

Multimedia Assignment Support
Multimedia Assignment Support facilitates the integration of multimedia assignments into courses across disciplines and departments. The program can provide training and technology, and support instructors with pedagogical consulting and development of teaching resources. Two courses are typically supported per semester. More information is available at