Laptops @ COM Q&A

Below are some frequently asked questions about the COM Laptop program.  If you have a question not answered here please email for an answer.

Are COM students required to own laptops?

No, COM students are not required to own laptops although they are highly recommenced. For students without laptops, COM have a fleet of loaner laptops for use during class, Edit Bays for use outside of class, specialty editing suites on the 3rd floor of COM, and access to the BU Computing Cluster in Mugar library and elsewhere on campus.

I can’t afford a computer or my computer is broken. What now?

COM fully understands not every student can afford a laptop computer. We know that computers break, get stolen, etc. If a student is lacking a laptop, COM will have a limited supply of laptops available which students can borrow for the duration of class. These COM-owned computers will have the core applications (Adobe Creative Cloud, MS Office, etc) and will allow the student to continue learning along with their peers for the duration of the class. See the COM Loaner Laptops page for more information.

I need a loaner laptop. Where can I pick one up?

Once a laptop reservation has been confirmed via email, the computer can be picked up in Field Production Services (FPS) which is located in the main COM building (640 Commonwealth Ave) in room B06.

Is COM providing loaner laptops for all BU Courses?

The COM Loaner laptop inventory is limited to use in COM taught classes. (Classes starting with the letters FT, JO, and CM.) We regret we can not loan laptops to use in other classes, even if the student is majoring in a COM subject. We suggest talking to the department administrator of the class in question as many departments at BU have similar resources for students in their programs.

Do I need a laptop to use COM’s individual edit suites, Podcast room, Finishing suites, etc?

Most COM specialty spaces have a computer already in the room for student use. In many cases that computer is specifically configured to use the hardware in that space and should be instead of a laptop. Please talk to the COM Tech staff for more information.

What happens if someone has a technical problem with their computer?

Students are expected to come to class with a working computer including having the needed software installed and licensed before class. (Think of it like a required textbook.) For those who need to use a COM laptop, they will be responsible for checking one out before class.  If a student needs technical support for their laptop, they can contact COM IT for assistance. Further details on the support provided by COM IT as well as the BU IS&T Help Center are provided here – Laptop Support.

Will COM techs install the applications for the students or otherwise configure their computers?

No, students will need to download and install the software on their own using the instructions provided by Adobe, Avid, etc. COM staff are happy to answer questions when possible. See more info on the Software Downloads page.

What if I prefer to use a desktop computer in COM?

COM has 40+ desktop computers for use by COM students which are located around the building. Most of these systems can be reserved by access COM’s reservation portal.

What software will the students need to purchase?

Many classes use applications found in the Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) suite, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere. BU has signed an agreement with Adobe which provides a full license to COM students (Ungrad and Grads) during their studies at BU at no additional cost. Visit the IS&T Adobe Page for more details and to request an account.

For Microsoft Office, students are eligible to download a licensed version to use on their laptops free of charge.

See more information about software on the Software Downloads page.

For other applications, please speak with the course professor regarding where to download and/or purchase the applications needed for the course.

Note that many applications used in COM are available as free downloads, such as Blackmagic Resolve. Faculty should contact Brad for information on possible education discounts available to students for paid applications.

What are the recommended specs of a student provided laptop?

We have a detailed page of hardware and software requirements. Most students will find they already own a capable computer.

If purchasing a new computer, COM has worked with Apple and BU IS&T to get special pricing on some recommended systems.

How can my students print?

COM students can use a web based portal to print within the building. More information is available on the Print from a Laptop page. BU IS&T also maintains printers located in Mugar Library in which students can use.

What about CNN Newsource, AP Primecuts, and Snapstream?

Students can currently use these services with their personal computers and can continue to do so. There is no cost to the students for any of these services.

For ENPS, Faculty will be given PCs in their office to create the initial Rundowns. Student editing will be done via the mobile version.