You will soon be part of the virtual community on the Willamette Campus Network, which is managed by Willamette Integrated Technology Services (WITS). Below you will find information about creating your account, keeping it safe, setting up email, and what to do when bringing your own computer to campus. We'll provide some very brief notes and tips to get you started. For additional info, visit the WITS website!
Prepare Before You Arrive
You will want to create your @willamette.edu email account as soon as possible. This will be the primary means the university will use to communicate important information with you in the time leading up to your arrival on campus. It's a self-service process and all you need to get things rolling is your Student ID number which will be listed in your Welcome email. Simply head to the WITS website (link is to the right), and under "Getting Connected" click the "Create network account" link. Oh, and have a nice long (yet easy to remember) password in mind...there's a 16 character minimum requirement.
This account is the entry point to your Willamette Portal, Gmail account, SAGE, WISE, and virtually all systems that require elevated access; consider this a type of security clearance and never give / type / tell / send / relay / text / sign / semaphore (get the picture?) your password to anybody...if they ask for it or if they don't. This restriction includes in reply to 'official looking' emails, even those claiming to be from admissions, the registrar, or even staff at WITS! Phishing, the act of tricking people into giving away account and personal information, is of paramount concern and universities are often targets of very convincing and sophisticated attempts to steal student info and access.
Choose a password that isn't easy to guess; avoid passwords made up of words commonly found together and never something found on your public social media sites (names of friends, pets, sports teams, high schools, etc). Longer passwords are, by their nature, more difficult for an automated system to crack. If you've forgotten your password, you can easily reset it using the second link, "Change your network password" on the WITS Homepage referenced above. Never send us what you "think" is your password or ask to have it reset. Just reset it yourself.
One thing to remember: your username is not your entire email account. When logging in to WU sites and computers you don't need to add "@willamette.edu" to the end of your username. If you do, it won't work and you may think you've forgotten your password.
Setting up your Email on a Mobile Device
Willamette uses the Google suite of applications including Google Mail and Google Calendar. That does not, however, mean the easy setup feature on your phone or tablet will actually work. Follow these instructions if you run into trouble: http://Willamette.edu/offices/wits/help/google/mobile/index.html
Bringing a Computer to Campus
It is highly recommended you have a Windows or Mac laptop computer upon your arrival. Although inexpensive and practical, Chrome-based laptops won't be able to run most of the applications used in coursework. There are several computer labs accessible "24/7" on campus, but many courses depend on regular access to a computer and for your own benefit and convenience you'll want to have one handy. WITS has a limited supply of Windows and Mac checkout laptops for short-term usage but these laptops are a resource shared campus-wide so we can not check them out for an entire term, semester, or year.
Windows? Macintosh? Chrome? Tablet?
Willamette supports both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Essential web-based tools like WISE, SAGE, and others accessed via a browser, are available on Mac and Windows as well as most smartphone and tablet devices. Keep in mind that some course-specific software may only work in a single operating system. Be sure to match your OS to the needs of your major or interest area. Music and art are quite Mac focused while business and research fields use predominantly Windows. Although Chromebooks and Tablets are inexpensive and useful, they lack the ability to install and run applications commonly used in courses across campus putting you at a potential disadvantage in the long run.
Purchasing a Computer
If you do plan to purchase a new computer, Willamette has some recommendations you might wish to consider. If the below info is a bit overwhelming, or you have any questions about purchasing a laptop, feel free to call the WITS Help Desk at 503-370-6767 and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction.
- Minimum Specs:
- An Intel Core i3 processor
- 8GB of RAM
- 128GB of storage space (SSD, M.2, or other non-spinning hard drive)
- An integrated mic/webcam
- A modern operating system (Windows 10 or higher, Mac OS 10.15 or higher)
- Generally speaking, the higher these numbers are, the better experience you'll have while using your laptop. With a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD Hard Drive, for example, you'll have plenty of space and power to get through 4 years of classes. Integrated Intel graphics processors are fine for everyday use...but if you like gaming or graphic design you'll want to find a laptop with a discrete graphics processor (GPU) with its own integrated RAM.
- Extended warranty & accidental damage coverage: Laptops suffer more wear than desktop computers, and the longer you own one the more likely it will need costly repairs. Carefully consider any extended and accidental damage coverage offered. A single cracked screen or dead system board can cost up to $700 to replace depending on the make and model of your laptop.
- Microsoft Office: Willamette has an agreement with Microsoft to provide Office 365 free of charge to students, faculty, and staff. Once you have created your Willamette.edu user account, you can use it to access a free download of the Office suite. This is not a trial version, it's the real deal. Just follow instructions at the link above.
- Preferred Brands: Apple and Dell are Willamette's preferred vendors and each offers student discounts on hardware and accessories.
- Apple Education offers student discounts on new Mac laptops. You can also visit any Apple Store and inquire there to get a student discount. (Tip: Apple always has special student-only offers on their laptops in August/September!)
- Dell has an education site with significant discounts: Dell University And as another option, Dell Outlet offers discounted manufacturer-refurbished laptops at great prices.
- Avoid Chrome-based laptops...most software used for research and coursework will not run on a ChromeBook and they have significant limitations.
Locking-up your laptop
Your room will not be equipped with anything to lock your laptop to, so we advise you to always lock your room and insure your laptop (your home insurance may not automatically cover your laptop, so check with your insurance carrier). It's also a good idea to keep your laptop with you; leaving it unattended in public spaces can be risky. Services are also available that can allow your laptop to be tracked via the Internet if stolen but WITS does not provide this technology or offer any direct support; it can often be ordered on a new laptop or added later. A popular option is Computrace, see their website for additional details.
Antivirus and Security
Any computer that is connected to a network is at risk for infection from viruses, spyware, malware, extortionware, and other unpleasant-sounding uninvited guests. One infected computer on campus can cause a campus-wide outbreak so WITS requires you to keep your operating system and anti-virus software up-to-date.
- Operating System Updates: Make sure that you've installed all the latest security patches for your operating system. Both Windows and Apple systems can be set to download updates automatically.
- Anti-virus: Always be sure a full version anti-virus software on your system and kept it up-to-date. Many computers come with a limited-time trial, which is not sufficient.
- Windows: Microsoft has integrated their own anti-virus product into all versions of Windows 8 and 10. This is usually sufficient, but other programs can be purchased which offer anti-virus protection. Check with the WITS Help Desk for additional assistance because running multiple AV applications on a computer simultaneously can severely degrade system performance.
- Macintosh: Apple's macOS may have a reputation as being less susceptible to infection but it is still a prime target for irritating malware. Keeping an up-to-date anti-virus program on your Mac computer is just as important as it is for Windows. Many of the major anti-virus software companies make products for macOS.
- Mobile Devices: iOS Devices typically have the upper hand when it comes to virus and malware avoidance. Android devices are more vulnerable but as long as you run the latest updates you should be in good shape. Norton offers malware and virus protection software for both devices. See their website for additional info.
External Drive / Cloud Storage for backup
Your data (school work, pictures, etc..) is the most important stuff on your computer. Hard drives are prone to failure, and the drives that ship with most modern computers are extremely difficult to recover data from once corrupted or damaged. Fortunately, many data backup options exist. WITS recommends the use of Google Drive as an online space to save anything you'd really miss if a frappachino spilled all over your laptop and you have unlimited storage in Google Drive with your Willamette email account! Just log in to your email account in a browser, then click the "9-button" icon in the upper right corner, and you'll have access to Drive, Calendar, and the entire Google suite of applications. External USB hard drives, another inexpensive option, usually include free backup software or can be used with TimeMachine (Mac only) and help get the backup-job done with little effort.
The WITS website has a trove of useful information and help documentation. Search "WITS" from our main website along with appropriate search terms to find the answers and instructions you seek.