Computing Services

The Office of Computing and Instructional Technology (OCIT) manages the School’s computer, printer and AV equipment and provides user support for online resources. We are here to assist you with access to CSSW’s computers, printers and A/V equipment, as well as to address questions you may have about CU-sponsored online resources such as CourseWorks (Canvas), Mediathread, and Turnitin. For more details, go to Brief Computing and Instructional Technology Information Sheet (PDF: 1 pg).

As an introduction to our services, we have compiled a list of questions that students frequently ask us:

What services do you offer and where are you located?

We are here to assist you with access to CSSW’s computers, printers and A/V equipment, as well as to address questions you may have about Columbia University-sponsored online resources such as CourseWorks (Canvas), Mediathread, and Turnitin.

Please feel free to stop by and introduce yourself to us (suite 419). We recommend that you read our one-page information sheet. You can also e-mail us your questions at swit@columbia.edu or call us at 212-851-2345 (option 1 for computing; option 2 for AV).

My instructor mentioned we could use role-play rooms for an assignment. Can you tell me more about that?

Rooms 411 and 412 are designated as role-play rooms. They are used as part of course related skill development assignments particularly in honing interviewing and observation skills, an inherent part of social work training. The role-play rooms are available for social work students with a course assignment that has been coordinated with the Office of Computing and Instructional Technology. If your instructor requires you to use the role-play rooms for an assignment, we will work closely with him or her to coordinate access. We will also be available to answer any questions you may have about the use of these rooms.

I have a laptop. How do I connect to Columbia’s wireless network?

The University’s central computing services, Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT), manages the wireless network on campus, which includes the Social Work building. To configure your laptop for WiFi access, go to this CUIT page.

I need to use a computer. Where are the computers in the Social Work Building?

Most students head to the Computer Lab. It’s on the first floor and has 57 computers, scanners, network printers, and a resume printer, all of which have been designated for student use. Also, there are three computers available in the Student Lounge (2nd floor) and 10 computers in the Social Work Library. If you just want to check your e-mail or look at your grades online, there are express terminals in the Concourse hallway, the 4th floor hallway, and on the 5th floor. If you cannnot find an available computer, you can always try the CSSW Electronic Classroom (room 401). If there is no class going on, please feel free to work on one of these computers. This room contains 25 computers and one high-speed printer.

When is the Computer Lab open?

During the Fall 2021 term, starting September 9th, with the expedition of University holidays and academic holidays, the Computer Lab will be open:

Monday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

NOTE: Computer Lab hours may be extended towards the end of the term. Summer hours vary from week to week to complement the summer session schedule. To confirm our hours on a particular day, go to our Computer Lab calendar.

Are there any computers I can use on the main campus?

Yes, you may use the computer labs on the main campus as well. For more information, go to CUIT Computer Lab and Cluster Locations; for lab hours, go to CUIT’s Lab Schedule. NOTE: The new Digital Science Center in the Science & Engineering Library is relatively close to our building (it’s on the southeast corner of Broadway and 120th Street). It has 50 workstations with over fifty software applications, configured for both individual and collaborative work. For the Center’s hours, go to this Science & Engineering Library page.

I need to print something. Where can I do that, and do I have to pay?

All students receive two print quotas—one from CSSW and the other from the University—which allow you to print free of charge for a predetermined quantity. The CSSW quota is 2,500 pages per term; the University’s CUIT quota is 20 pages per week. NOTE: Both printing quotas are calculated per sheet of paper, not per printed side. Unused printing quota pages do not carry over to the next semester.

Your CSSW print quota applies to the following CSSW printers:
First floor: All 5 printers + 1 resume printer in the Computer Lab.
Second floor: Student Lounge printer (can print to this printer from the three computers in that room, your laptop, or the Social Work Library computers).
Fourth floor: Printer in the Electronic Classroom.
Your CU quota applies to the Social Work Library printer and to printers in any Columbia University computer lab or library across campus.

How can I check my print quota? Can I purchase additional pages?

To check your print quota for CSSW and/or purchase additional pages, go to this CUIT page (uni & pw required). The cost is $0.20 per page, sold in $1 increments known as “printing dollars.” NOTE: Additional purchased pages carry over from week to week, as well as from term to term.

Can I print from my laptop to any of the School’s printers?

The only School printer to which you can print from your laptop is the one available in the Student Lounge. Please click here for help configuring your laptop for printing to the Student Lounge printer.

I understand that CourseWorks (Canvas) is where I should go to find my syllabus. How is it set up?

When you log into CourseWorks, you will see all of your social work courses for the current term, as well as any past terms. If you have specific questions regarding CourseWorks, please contact our office via swcourses@columbia.edu or 212-851-2345 (option 1).

I have a computer question. Who can help me?

Our office handles issues that arise with CSSW computers, printers and AV equipment. We can also help with questions on various software programs. All other computer or IT related queries—e.g., change UNI password, printing dollars, anti-virus software, software training, campus computing facilities, and other basic computer support services—are handled by the CUIT Help Desk, which you can contact by phone (854-1919), email (askcuit@columbia.edu), or in person. NOTE: If you are considering purchasing a personal computer, we suggest that you go to CUIT’s Computer Pre-Purchase Considerations page and/or Computer Discounts page.

As a student, how can I maximize my learning experience in an online course?

For tips and strategies for maximizing students’ online learning and engagement visit: https://online.columbia.edu/students/

How can I maximize my Internet connection?

To maximize your Internet connection:

  • Connect to the router via ethernet cable. This may require a 25ft cable to reach your study place. Ethernet is not as convenient as wireless, but provides a more stable connection that is less susceptible to interference.
  • If ethernet is not viable, move as close to WiFi router as possible.
  • Minimize the number of other devices on Wifi by turning them off or turning off Wifi on those devices.
  • Close tabs and programs that may be using the network connection on the computer.
  • Restart the computer one hour before class.
  • Call ISP to update modem/router software if it hasn’t been updated in a year.

See also:

Everything You Need to Know About Slow Internet Speeds

WiFi Troubleshooting for Zoom

Finding Low Cost Internet and Computers in your Area

Where can I find Canvas information and tutorials?

Canvas Overview Watch Video or visit Tutorial Page

Student Guide Student QuickStart Guide

Update Your Notification Preferences Visit Tutorial Page

Canvas on your web-enabled phone Watch Video or Visit Tutorial Page

Student Collaborations Watch Video or Visit Tutorial Page

Conferences Visit Tutorial Page

Assignments Watch Video or Visit Canvas Help Page

Taking Quizzes Visit Canvas Help Page

Submitting Assignments Watch Video Visit Tutorial Page

Are there resources to help me prepare for my course that is meeting via Zoom?

There are several resources to help students prepare for their online Zoom courses:

Upgrading Zoom to the Latest Version

Zoom Client Download

Zoom Quick Guide for Students

Zoom Test

Technical Help FAQ