ITS' electronic newsletter highlighting technology services & initiatives

eDocs: Access Your Files Anytime, Anywhere

ITS is excited to announce the upcoming release of eDocs, a document management system for UIS faculty, staff, and students.

Storing and backing up critical files, working from home, as well as collaborating with colleagues both on and off campus is fast, simple, and secure.  eDocs is a self-managed system, allowing users to have complete control over what is uploaded and who can access it.

eDocs comes with a Blackboard Connector to link to files and folders posted on eDocs directly from Blackboard. 

Each user will be provided with 1GB of storage space.

ITS is currently in the final phase of testing.  eDocs is scheduled to be released to the campus community this summer. If you are interested in becoming an early adopter, please contact Kara McElwrath ( for training.

In Plain Language

Webcasting. Podcasting. Streaming Video. Clickers. eDocs. Class Capture. Atomic Learning. Camtasia.

The Instructional Support and Training team is in the midst of a series of faculty workshops showcasing these tools.  If you have missed the sessions, we invite you to view the archived recordings available on our In Plain Language Web page

General Computer Buying Tips

The Technology Support Center team has put together some general tips for purchasing computers. They are designed for use by all types of purchasers including parents, students, faculty, and staff. These tips are not a representation of buying restrictions or policy at UIS but a compendium of our experience with what works best for our customers.

Processors – Dual Core vs. Quad Core
Although some processor sharing is possible on computers today, generally each processor handles one task on a machine. So if you are an extreme multi-tasker who runs several processes at the same time a quad core processor might be right for you. Most computer users would be best served to go with a higher Ghz dual core processor instead.

Operating System – Which OS?
For Windows users, Windows XP Professional remains the operating system of choice here on the UIS campus. It remains the most stable choice for remote and wireless network access at UIS. At first glance it seems that Windows XP is not available when purchasing new computers, however if you call a sales representative you can request Windows XP.

For Mac users, the latest operating system is preferred since Apple Computer Inc. integrates many functional and security updates with each release.

Memory: How Much?
Generally the most you can afford has always been the rule but with more memory becoming available it is best to order no more than 4 Gigabytes of memory on machines. The reason is that 32 bit operating systems can only use slightly over 3 Gigabytes of system memory so any more than that remains unused.

Storage: To RAID or not to RAID?
Recently, more options for ordering a machine with multiple hard drives configured for RAID are being offered. RAID 0 provides faster hard drive access at a significant cost of stability, while RAID 1 provides redundancy at the cost of space. We recommend against ordering a computer with a RAID configuration, as most UIS users would see no benefit. If you are unsure if you could benefit from a RAID configuration, please contact the helpdesk.

Optical Drive: DVD or CD? R or RW?
Media is increasingly being offered only on DVD format and most configurations include a DVD drive and we recommend including it on your configuration. A DVD-R drive allows you to read DVD format discs and is fine for those who don’t copy data to CD or DVD discs. A DVD-RW drive is necessary if you intend to copy files to a CD or DVD. We recommend a DVD-RW drive.
NOTE: It appears Blu-Ray has become the dominant format for delivery of High Definition Movies. If you plan on watching movies on your computer we recommend a Blu-Ray drive. Most Blu-Ray drives also write to regular DVD discs.

Most, if not all, new desktops are already configured with LCD flat panel monitors. We recommend not downgrading to a CRT if offered. The LCD monitors take up much less space and are so much lighter thus making it the best choice. How big a monitor depends on your budget; for desktops we recommend at least a 17”, for laptops a 15”.

Graphics Card:
For the normal user, the automatically configured card will meet their needs without issue. But if you are a user who normally uses graphically intensive software, such as games and graphic design software, you should invest in a card that has at least 256 MB of onboard video memory.

Sound Cards:
Once again generally the default configuration is adequate for the normal user. The higher end cards that are listed and 7:1 Channel systems are meant more for audio mixing and gamers that want to hear more ambient sounds. If you don’t fit either of those categories, stick with the default card.

Keyboards & Mice: Wireless or Wired?
We still recommend wired keyboards and mice for the campus community. While wireless versions will provide more freedom, they come with their downsides. They can and frequently do lose wireless signal resulting in the devices being unresponsive. In addition, they require batteries to operate and it can be annoying to have to change them (sometimes frequently for mice).

Do I still need a floppy drive?
Most users do not need floppy drives anymore and most default configurations do not include them. With the advent of CD & DVD media and the use of inexpensive flash drive technology, the floppy drive is an anachronism of computer technology.

Do I need a modem?
Once again this is based on your needs but most users connect to a network (home or UIS) via an Ethernet network cable. A modem is not necessary to access the UIS network for people located on campus.

Speakers: Satellite or Attached?
We recommend attached speakers for most users. The speakers provide adequate sound while not taking up desk or floor space with separate speakers and subwoofer.

Internet Security Software:
Most systems come with antivirus software free of charge such as Trend Micro or McAfee security. We recommend no preconfigured internet security since all employees and students on the UIS campus are eligible for a free copy of the McAfee antivirus software.

Microsoft Office Software:
For Faculty & Staff we do not recommend paying for Office since all employees are entitled to that software free of charge through our campus-wide licensing agreement. Students can purchase the Office suite at a steeply discounted price ($45 for the standard version and $65 for the enterprise version) from our Software WebStore. The software is also available at the UIS Bookstore.


See Also:
Faculty/Staff Services
Student Services
Other Services


Technology Support Center, HSB 110
• (217) 206-6000
• (877) 847-0443 [Toll free]

Media Lab, BRK 180
• (217) 206-6550

UHB Computer Lab, UHB 2030
• (217) 206-7100


FREE Video Resources

Atomic Learning is a free, web-based training resource full of short, step-by-step tutorials covering over 100 different software applications. Take advantage of this great resource of anytime, anywhere tutorials today!