Arts desktop computers for sessionals' offices

NOTE: Since this memo was written, the uWaterloo licensing for Microsoft (MS) products has changed to allow us to provide the full MS Office Suite on all desktop computers provided to departments for sessional instructors' use. Other commercial software (e.g. Adobe Pro, Microsoft Project) may require a departmental purchase to use depending on the current campus licensing agreements. See IST's Software for faculty and staff web page for more information.


From: Robert W. Park, Associate Dean of Arts, Computing
Subject: Policy re Desktop Computers and Software for Sessionals' Offices

Beginning in the Fall term, 2006, the Arts Computing Office is attempting to regularize the provision of desktop computers for offices used by sessional instructors, so that they can make use of them for teaching purposes. We believe that it is important that sessional lecturers have good access to email for communication with their students, and that they have good access to the web so that they can make use of our online course environment, Desire2Learn, if they wish to do so. Therefore, these computers will be installed in the Nexus domain, the same domain used by the instructors' podium computers that are installed in classrooms across campus. In terms of software, these computers will be equipped with up-to-date email programs and web browsers.

Other kinds of software likely to be useful for sessional instructors include word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, and drawing. However, the most commonly-used packages (e.g., Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel) are all commercial. It is up to individual departments to purchase some or all of these packages and have them installed on the sessional lecturer office computers if they wish to do so. As an alternative, these computers will all come with 2, an open-source productivity software package. OpenOffice includes a word processor called Writer, a presentation (i.e., PowerPoint) program called Impress, a spreadsheet program called Calc, and a drawing program called Draw. These programs can read and write in their equivalent Microsoft formats (e.g., Writer can open Microsoft Word documents and can save files in Microsoft Word format, and Impress can open PowerPoint documents and save files in PowerPoint format). OpenOffice will also be installed on the classroom podium machines, so instructors wishing to use Impress while lecturing will be able to do so.

OpenOffice help and documentation is available.

OpenOffice is free, so anyone wishing to download and install it on their home computer can do so.

Live chat

Computing questions? Connect with the Arts Computing Office Help Desk on our live chat! Available Monday to Friday, 9:30AM - 4:30PM, with some exceptions.