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Majoring in ACM

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Hardware and Software Requirements

Why does my program require a laptop?
The creative process requires access to the tools at all hours. Having Internet and software access at all times are an important part of the creative process in your program. The laptop requirement allows you and your instructor access to Internet content and allows the student the ability to work on ACM projects 24/7. The Academy expects this requirement to result in higher technology literacy, more technology integration in your films, more effective portfolio development, effective use of software and hardware, and overall better productions.

Is there a recommended laptop?
ACM provides required Laptop specifications and a recommended Laptop.  Understand that all instruction is based on the Macintosh platform and the software it supports.  You may visit the UH Bookstore for help in selecting an appropriate computer.

I already own a laptop. Can I use it?
If your laptop meets the minimum hardware and software requirements, you are all set. However our curriculum is based on Macintosh software programs. Support for other editing software will not be available from our faculty or staff.  If you do not have the required software or its equivalent, you will need to purchase and install it.  The Bookstore has agreed to bundle hardware and software packages at a discounted rate for students.

How much will this cost?
Because you can choose any laptop that meets the standard, this is impossible to define.  To give you some idea, the minimum Macintosh laptop costs approximately $1,799 and the required software approximately $800.  More powerful configurations cost more.

I can’t afford the laptop & software
Because the laptop and software is required, you can ask the Financial Aid office to include it in your “cost of attendance”.  This allows many students who could not previously afford a computer to own one
during their studies.  Apply for financial aid (http://www.hawaii.edu/fas/) early! 

I already have a desktop computer, do I also need a laptop?
Much of the teaching/learning benefit of this requirement results from universal access to software and Internet in class, between classes, at home, in coffee shops, and elsewhere.  You need the portability of a laptop computer for work in class as well as at other locations with your classmates. You need a laptop.

Is wireless Internet access available?
Most ACM buildings have 802.11b/g wireless access.  Most computers come with the ability to use our wireless network.

Why is a standard necessary?
The focus of this requirement is to augment teaching and learning.  Without a standard, the use of several different platforms would get bogged down with technical questions, conflicts, incompatibilities, and frustrations.  A standard, such as the Macintosh platform verses the PC platform, may seem limiting, but experience and research from many other institutions strongly endorse standardization. Faculty is assured that everyone can load and access software (especially freeware or shareware) they choose to incorporate in class. 

Why a Macintosh standard?
There are pros and cons to every operating system, however Macintosh was chosen for one important reason.  There is more media-related software available for Macintosh and the vast majority of the media industry uses Macintosh.

 I already own a laptop with a different operating system. Can I use it?
ACM does not support other operating systems and its software under this standard.  Technical assistance is not available for Linux, Windows, or other platforms and student laptops will be expected to run the required software in this standard.

Will the minimum hardware and software configuration be sufficient to support me through a four-year course of study?
Upgrades in hardware and software are an ongoing challenge for everybody. ACM is confident that the minimum requirements adequately support the student through the required curriculum if completed in a timely manner.

Revised 4/1/08

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