Yes: you need to save files in a format which your instructors can open at Temple. Temple Computer Services supports Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Office Enterprise 2010 for Windows, and Office 2011 for Mac. This means you will find this software on computers on campus, and that the Help Desks can answer questions about it. If you are using other software on your computer, like Microsoft Works, iWorks Pages for Mac, or Open Office, remember to save in a file format which can be read in our supported programs: save your work as a .rtf, or Rich Text File. This will enable your professor to open your work using on-campus computers, and you can open and print your own files when you use any on-campus computer.
Do I really need Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word) for First Year Writing?
Microsoft Office is recommended, but it is not required for First Year Writing. For students with limited computer know-how, Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word) will be the simplest way to create and share files with your professor. Other alternatives may require you to save your file in a different format and may integrate differently with programs such as RefWorks (a program for saving citations).
Is OpenOffice.org really a viable, free alternative to Microsoft Office?
While OpenOffice.org duplicates many of the features of Microsoft Office, the documents that you will be working with in First Year Writing will need to be in the .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats in order to share your files with your professor. When you save your file, select the "Save As" option and select one of these file formats in order to save your file in one of these formats. Keep in mind that programs of study that might ask you to manipulate data in Microsoft Excel may require Microsoft Office further down the line. However, OpenOffice.org does include a spreadsheet program that can import and export .xls and .xlsx Microsoft Excel files.
Is Google Docs really a viable, free alternative to Microsoft Office?
Much like OpenOffice.org, you will be able to create and work with documents in a very familiar word processing environment. You will need to download your file as a "Word" document or "rtf" document in order to email your file to your professor. This option is available under the "File" heading at the top of the webpage.
How can I purchase software at academic/reduced rates for my home computer?
Your status as a student or instructor at Temple University gives you access to academic software rates at many online stores, including JourneyEd: http://www.journeyed.com/select