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Technology

Technology supports and enhances the educational, research, and scholarly pursuits of the law school's students and faculty.

Law ITS
Zief Library, 117
Phone: (415) 422-2220
lawhelp@usfca.edu 

Classrooms at Kendrick Hall offer power and both wireless and wired connections at every seat, as well as audio-visual equipment. The Dorraine Zief Law Library, which also offers power and both wireless and wired connections, features individual and group study rooms with audio-visual equipment, computer classrooms, and a computer lab. The library provides academic training software to supplement courses and connects to countless online resources.

 

Many of our faculty members integrate technology into their teaching, using the internet and multimedia tools to enhance student experiences. For example, some faculty create virtual classrooms to distribute assignments and materials, conduct online discussions, and communicate with students.

The USF School of Law's Information Technology Services (ITS) is committed to assisting faculty and students utilize technology to achieve educational goals. Our ITS staff provides computer advice and classroom tech support. Though they are not available to provide extensive service for non-USF computers, the staff is capable of helping with many personal computer problems, such as configuring a connection to the network or assisting in the event of a laptop malfunction.

To learn more, please contact Law ITS at lawhelp@usfca.edu or (415) 422-2220.

Personal Laptop Computers

Personal laptops can be very useful for in-class note taking, writing papers, doing online research, and taking exams. Please note that individual faculty members determine whether laptop use is available in each of their respective classes.

Whether you are planning on purchasing a new computer or using one you already own, please refer to the USF student computer specifications on the Law ITS Help Desk website. If interested in making a personal purchase, discounts on computers and other products are available via the USF eStore.

Most law school courses do not require any special software besides a word processing program. The most popular word processing software suite is Microsoft Office. There is also a free word processing software suite called Open Office available at: http://www.openoffice.org. Documents created in Open Office can be saved to be readable in Microsoft Office.

It is HIGHLY advisable to install virus software onto your computer. USF utilizes Sophos AntiVirus which can also be downloaded from the USF eStore.

Financing a Computer

The purchase of a new computer is considered a legitimate educational expense by lenders. If the cost of a new computer, in addition to your other educational expenses, exceeds your University approved student budget ("Cost of Attendance"), you may request an increase in your private or Graduate PLUS loan eligibility. The loan increase would be permitted as a one time adjustment during your tenure at USF. The amount would reflect the actual cost of the computer up to $3,000. Funding is not made in advance of the purchase; students are reimbursed.

To obtain increased loan funds for a new computer, enrolled students must complete the follow:

  • purchase the computer before or during the school year (not earlier than July 2)
  • submit the USF Law School Computer Budget Increase form with receipts and a product invoice (a complete invoice listing all purchased products and accompanying software is required to ascertain the educational value of the purchase) to the law school Office of Financial Aid in a timely fashion before the end of the academic year (no later than March 1)
  • receive approval of the budget increase from the law school's financial aid administrator
  • contact your private lender to apply for the additional amount approved by the financial aid administrator. Graduate PLUS loan borrowers must submit a letter to the law school financial aid administrator requesting additional Graduate PLUS loan funds

Note: Graduate PLUS and private loans are subject to lender discretion and based on credit worthiness. 

Although students may be reimbursed for the purchase of a new computer through educational loans it is recommended that students give full consideration to the final cost, including accrued interest, before deciding to exercise this loan option. Inquiries about financing a computer purchase should be directed to our Office of Financial Aid via e-mail at lawfinaid@usfca.edu or by telephone at (415) 422-6210.

Taking Exams with a Laptop Computer

Law students have the option of using their laptop computers for taking final examinations using ExamSoft® software furnished by the law school. We have found this software to be very reliable. The overall response from both students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is the same software that the State Bar of California uses for the bar examination.   Each year approximately five thousand final examinations are taken by students using laptop computers.

In order to use your laptop computer to take final examinations, it must meet the system requirements: ExamSoft System Requirements. We have found that laptops configured for or on loan from a corporate/office environment are often not suitable for taking exams because incompatibilities with the exam software often occur. We also strongly advise all students to install the free anti-virus software made available by the university.

Inquires about examination software should be directed to the law school Registrar by e-mail at lawregistrar@usfca.edu or by phone at (415) 422-6778.