So you need a computer for college?

I looked around, including at my college, and didn't find any lists that could help a community college student who needed to get a computer for college. So, I made this chart of computer specifications for community college students. There are lots of "best laptops for college" listicles out there (not journalism) and plenty of engineering colleges that have computer specific charts, but it seems nothing analogous to this. You'll note I didn't designate laptop or desktop as an option: price, availability, family needs, and culture all shape that choice.

I tried to be realistic about what students will find for sale and what they can afford. I wouldn't buy the a computer with the minimum specifications on this list if buying new, but you could for under $200. I also didn't specify screen sizes as I've learned from my students that young eyes tolerate tiny fonts and scrolling much better than I do. I went back and forth over whether to include Linux computers. On the one hand, it's such a small percentage of students who might use them. On the other hand, Linux embraces the ethos of college in ways that Microsoft and Apple do not, so, to the barricades friends.

Feel free to send along feedback or requests for it in alternate formats. This is the first in a series of OER materials I'm going to produce that try to fill the gaps that exist between the world of tech - higher ed teaching - and scholarship of teaching and learning. Stay tuned.

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