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Admitted Students Guide: Computing and Information Services (2021-2022)

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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
The 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), [email protected], or or by visiting us in person. For hours and more information, visit our website.

Stay Informed
Please visit for information about IT services, self-help resources, and technology tips and news.

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, Verizon FIOS offeres a discount to Brown community members. You can learn about this and other available discounts through the Bear Bargains list.

Personal Computers
Most students at Brown bring laptops. For most purposes, Mac and Windows PCs work equally well. We estimate around 65% of students have Mac laptops, and 35% Windows. Some also bring Linux computers or Chromebooks. Chromebooks work great for email, paper writing, Zoom and Canvas (our online learning system), though they have some limitations that prevent them from using some scientific and research software applications.

We have some general buying recommendations on our Buying a Computer page.

The Brown Bookstore Technology Center offers student pricing, affordable Safeware warranty coverage, and ongoing warranty support on Apple, Lenovo and Microsoft Surface computers.

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 Four titles you should especially note are Microsoft Office, Rosetta Stone, Adobe Creative Cloud, and LinkedIn Learning.

Printing services have been consolidated under the MyPrint-Pickup service. See for more information.

A variety of technical workshops are offered by the Library and other campus groups. Support and consultation for instructional technologies is provided by the Digital Learning and Design team. A list of trainings from various departments is featured on on a monthly basis. On-demand training for technical topics and more is available at LinkedIn Learning

Digital Learning and Design
The mission of Digital Learning and Design (DLD) is to support teaching and learning at Brown through research and promotion of new technologies and to provide consultation about effective pedagogical practices. DLD offers course management support, workshops, showcases and consultation to faculty and graduate students interested in exploring how technology may enhance their teaching and learning practices. The group collaborates on projects with faculty and graduate student instructors who want to experiment with innovative technologies or just try something new.

Course Management is where instructors submit their syllabus for students to view in, as well as request tools and services including Canvas course sites, course blogs, in-class polling, lecture capture, and Google course groups.

Canvas, Brown’s learning management system, helps faculty and graduate students extend the classroom experience online. Instructors can quickly and easily create course sites, upload syllabi, readings and other course content, create online assignments and assessments, facilitate discussions, and provide links to other resources and media, giving students 24/7 access to course materials.

Multimedia Assignment Support
Multimedia Assignment Support facilitates the integration of media-based assignments into courses across disciplines and departments. The program provides training, technology, pedagogical consulting and development of teaching resources. Learn about the many multimedia spaces, tools and services for students and faculty on at the Multimedia Labs webpage.