Frequently Asked

Are students REQUIRED to own a computer?
No, but a number of departments require or recommend that students have access to a computer to complete coursework. While there are a number of computer labs on campus and the Virtual Computing Lab is available 24/7, owning a computer (particularly a laptop) offers many advantages.
Is the cost of a computer included in tuition?
No, each student is responsible for purchasing his or her own computer.
Does financial aid include the cost of a computer?
Each student's situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. Contact Financial Aid:
Should I purchase a laptop or a desktop computer?
While a laptop costs more than a desktop, students are able to take a laptop to class and access the wireless network. Having a laptop also makes it easier to complete course assignments when traveling. Laptops enable in-class use of computers, which has proven beneficial in some classes. However, most instructors do not make extensive use of laptops in class. Students do use personal laptops (or desktop computers) for out-of-class assignments and projects. Laptop users find the greatest benefit is mobility. Desktop computers offer advantages also. They are less expensive, and students sometimes find working at a desk with a keyboard, mouse and monitor more comfortable. Desktops are also less prone to loss and theft. We encourage students to talk to their advisor before making a final decision. Also, some programs have certain computer requirements.
Do you recommend a particular computer?
Students should purchase a computer meeting the specifications of their academic program, if any. The computers available through ECU's Dowdy Student Stores are configured to meet program requirements. Also, special on-campus hardware/software support is available to students whose computers are ordered through the Pirate Techs/Dowdy Student Store initiative.
Can I purchase from any computer vendor?
Yes, students can purchase a new computer from any vendor or manufacturer.
My parents' company has an employee purchase plan. Is it okay if I buy the same computer through them instead of through Dowdy?
Students can obtain a computer from any manufacturer.
What if my grandparent buys the computer for me through Dowdy?
No problem. Make sure all warranty information is in the student's name; this greatly simplifies hardware support.
Will we use laptops in class?
That depends on the academic department. Check the requirements chart to see if your academic program requires or recommends a computer, and then contact them directly for the answer to that question. However, note that students with laptops have found the most important and valuable uses for their laptops are out of class. Some classes do benefit greatly from in-class use of laptops.
Will I need to bring my laptop to class every day?
Only specific departments have requirements. There is NOT a university-wide requirement. Ownership is optional. In the areas where a laptop is required, it will vary from class to class, but generally, no. Your professor will announce when/if it is necessary. Some professors allow you to use them to take notes, and some will ask you to close them when they're not being used. Some students are distracted by having the laptops with them and do non-educational things when they should be listening. Others find them very valuable as note-taking and researching devices. Each individual professor will have specific rules. Very few classes use them every day. The value of having a laptop comes less in what happens in class than in having appropriate technology at all times and anywhere you need or want it!
What about software?
Antivirus is a requirement for Windows computers that connect to the ECU network. Apple computers should have antivirus installed, but this is not required as it is for Windows systems. Symantec EndPoint antivirus is available to faculty, staff and students through the ECU Download Center.

Some programs require specific software that is licensed by ECU, such as statistical software, while some programs can be purchased through the bookstore at educational prices.

All students have an Office 365 Pro Plus subscription that includes email, calendar, contacts and the Microsoft Office suite.
Will there be any special orientation or training?
Yes. There are informational technology sessions at summer orientation. Software training is also available through the ECU video tutorial subscription.
What if my computer breaks after I arrive at school?
Visit the Pirate Techs Student Computing Support Center. There is a walk-in location on each campus, and there is no appointment necessary.
What about insurance?
We strongly recommend that parents add a rider to their home owner's insurance or take out a small policy that covers fire and/or theft. Those things are not covered by warranty.
What should I do to protect against laptop theft?
Students should treat backpacks as they would a purse - keep it close at all times, even in a bathroom stall. A laptop cable lock is available at ECU's Dowdy Student Stores, as well as at many suppliers of computer equipment. When your computer is out of your possession, it is most vulnerable to theft. Keep dorm rooms locked at all times for the safety of your laptop as well as your other personal items. Thefts will occur. It is the responsibility of the student to protect a personal computer at all times.

Hard drive encryption and passwords are also encouraged for students.
Who should I contact if I have more questions?
Visit any Pirate Techs Student Computing Support Center (Joyner Library 1101, Health Sciences Student Center 211). You can call David Creech, Pirate Techs coordinator at 252.328.9544 / Purchase inquiries should be directed to ECU's Dowdy Student Store. Phone: 252.328.4360/1.877.499.8398.