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Learning Remotely: A Guide for MHC Students

LITS Laptop Loans

LITS has a limited number of laptops available for checkout for the Spring 2020 semester.  These laptops are available to students who do not have access to a personal computer, and who need a device to complete coursework remotely.

If you borrowed a laptop for the semester, are returning in the fall, and still need the item, please contact to extend the loan. If you are in the area or on campus and wish to drop library matrials off, see the LITS page on Library Materials and Equipment drop off for more information. If you are not returning in the fall you should have received an email from LITS beginning the process of retrieving LITS items. 

If you have questions about borrowing a laptop from LITS, or returning materials please email

Recommended Computer Standards

Recommended minimum standards for an existing computer:
Any computer purchased within the past 4 years will serve your needs. The detailed minimum standards that LITS recommends are:
  • PC-Windows 10; 4gb Ram; i5 processor;  Current anti-virus and malware protection software.
  • MAC-OS 10.13, 4gb Ram; 1.3 GHz processor; Current anti-virus and malware protection software.

Recommended minimum standards for a new or refurbished computer purchase:

  • MacBook Pro 13" / 1.4 GHz / 8 GB / 128 GB
  • Latitude 7300 13" /1.6 GHz i5 8th Gen/ 16 GB / 256GB Solid State Drive 

Be sure to keep your Operating System and Security Software up to date!

Free AntiVirus Software recommendations: Sophos Home, AVG Free, BitdefenderWindows Defender (built into Windows 10) 
Free AntiMalware Software recommendation:

Email with any hardware or software questions!

Internet Service

Spectrum and Comcast have offered free internet service for homes within their customer service area who do not already have home internet service.  Please refer to the links below to communicate directly with the appropriate company for your area.   

Comcast Internet Essentials

“Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).”


Charter Spectrum Broadband

“Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.”


If neither of these are viable options for you, contact the


VPN stands for virtual private network. MHC VPN allows us to connect to the MHC network from home (or while traveling) safely and securely in order to access campus resources. VPN makes your connection private and secure. This is important when working with private, secure or high risk college data, as well as if you're on a public wifi.


VPN is only required when using an on-campus restricted software, library resource, or while connecting remotely to a campus computer.  For the majority of student work, VPN is not necessary.


Take a look at the examples below to better understand when you should connect to VPN: 


  • Accessing files on the campus AMBR file server: VPN is necessary

  • Remote access to a microscope computer or campus lab computers: VPN is necessary

  • Accessing library research databases: VPN is sometimes necessary 

  • Accessing your MHC Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Moodle, Zoom, etc: VPN is not necessary


To set up VPN, follow these directions from the LITS website.

VPN can be trickier to set up on Macs. If you are connecting to the VPN on a Mac, follow these instructions to set up the VPN.

If you need assistance, please mail

Moodle Mobile App

We have enabled all users to access Mount Holyoke’s Moodle site via the official Moodle mobile app. In a rapidly changing crisis situation, we highly recommend that students with smartphones download the app and practice logging in, before they leave campus for any sustained period of time. Download the app here.

When you first start up the app, it will ask you to enter the URL of your Moodle site.  You should enter "".

The app can be used by both students and instructors, but is designed primarily for use by students. Not all Moodle features will work the same way in the mobile app -- see the link below for more information.


The following software is available for download to your personal computers:

Microsoft Office 365
More information:
Please note: LITS does not support Microsoft One Drive as storage. Please use your MHC Google Drive for storage.

SPSS, STATA, MatLab, and Mathematica
Fill out this form to request any of these software packages. 

Instructions for downloading ChemDraw to personal computers can be found at this link:

Adobe Cloud is freely available to students through July 6th. To install Adobe Cloud on your computer, follow these instructions.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is free! Best used to read PDF files. Download it here:

Adobe Spark--You can sign into Adobe Spark with your school account by using your address:

Spark is limiting but can be useful in some projects!

For questions about the different usages of Adobe, the remote staff from MEWS can help answer them. Contact


Use this Mount Holyoke-specific Zoom link to create an account using your Mount Holyoke email address: Zoom can be downloaded from either on- or off-campus.

Need help getting ready to use Zoom? While most users find it relatively intuitive, a variety of support options are available. These include:

MHC Accessibility Barriers Form