7.07 Computers, Networks and Technology Requirements

Students who are provided access to Medical School computer facilities and to the campus-wide communication network assume responsibility for their appropriate use. The Medical School expects students to be careful, honest, responsible and civil in the use of computers and networks. Those who use wide-area networks (such as the Internet) to communicate with individuals or to connect to computers at other institutions are expected to abide by the rules for the remote systems and networks as well as those for Harvard’s systems. Be advised that, in addition to being a violation of School rules, certain computer misconduct is prohibited under Massachusetts General Laws, c.266 subsection 33 (a) and 12 (f) and is, therefore, subject to criminal penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or database, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, and destroying of electronically processed, stored, or in-transit data. Students may be held responsible for misuse that occurs by allowing access to a third party to their own computer or account.

Use of Facilities

Computer and network facilities are provided to students primarily for their educational use. These facilities have tangible value. Consequently, attempts to circumvent accounting systems or to use the computer accounts of others will be treated as forms of attempted theft.

Students may not attempt to damage or to degrade the performance of Medical School computers and networks and should not disrupt the work of other users. Students may not attempt to circumvent security systems or to exploit or probe for security holes in any Harvard network or system, nor may students attempt any such activity against other systems accessed through Harvard’s facilities. Execution or compilation of programs designed to breach system security is prohibited unless authorized in advance. Students assume personal responsibility for the use of their accounts. Consequently, students may not disclose their passwords or otherwise make Harvard’s facilities available to unauthorized persons (including family or friends). Moreover, the possession or collection of others’ passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), private digital certificates or other secure identification information is prohibited. Use of Harvard’s computers and networks for business-related purposes without authorization is prohibited.

Mobile Device Requirement

All MD and DMD students are required to have a web-enabled mobile device that meets the mobile device specifications.

Occasionally mobile devices will be used in the classroom in conjunction with audience response systems. There are no downloads required and no additional cost for this application. Other free and discounted medically-related mobile applications can be downloaded from MyCourses.

Students are expected to carry their charged mobile device to all course-related activities. All venues that require student participation with a mobile device will have WiFi available, so using a device with WiFi connectivity for this purpose will not incur a fee for the user.

Note: Although not expressly prohibited from meeting this mobile requirement, laptops are not recommended since they are not as portable as phones and tablets and often have greater power consumption, which may not be accommodated in venues such as the large amphitheaters.

Financial concerns related to this requirement: The cost of purchasing a personal computer and the necessary peripherals and software that accompany it is not part of the standard student budget. However, a student may request that the Financial Aid Office apply an increase to his/her student budget to cover the cost of buying a computer for educational purposes. For those students who are interested in purchasing a computer, the Financial Aid Office will allow a one-time budget increase of up to $2,500. To apply for a budget increase for a computer purchase, a student must purchase the computer and make photocopies of all of the computer specifications and sales receipts. These copies should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office along with a written request for a budget increase. Budget increases are allowed only for a computer purchase made within the academic year for which the budget increase is requested. Students should plan to buy all of desired equipment at one time because it will not be possible to make subsequent budget increases for additional peripheral hardware or software. The expense of a computer purchase will generally be met first with Direct Unsubsidized loan funds to the extent permitted by federal regulation, and then with funds from either the Direct Graduate PLUS loan program or a supplemental private loan program. For additional information about this process, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Laptop Requirement

All MD and DMD students are required to own a laptop that meets the laptop specifications.

The Pathways program administers exams and quizzes in preclerkship courses in electronic format on the ExamSoft platform. ExamSoft products work on laptops that meet the above laptop requirement; visit this site for more information on ExamSoft technical specifications

Shelf Exams in core clinical clerkships are administered electronically through the National Board of Medical Examiners' web-based system. Instructions for preparing a laptop for Shelf Exams are available online. 

Financial concerns related to this requirement: The Books & Supplies portion of the HMS Cost of Attendance budget should provide sufficient coverage for students who must purchase a laptop or iPad as a result of this requirement. Alternatively, HMS and HSDM students may be eligible for additional loan borrowing for this expense. Students who receive financial aid who are interested in this option should speak with a financial aid officer at their home school (HMS or HSDM) prior to the purchase.

Student Computing Ethics

As in all other areas of your academic life, the use of computing technology should be undertaken in a manner consistent with the high standards of professional conduct appropriate to the field of medicine. In addition, the internet, electronic mail, and social media may create additional challenges to health care professionals’ responsibility for ensuring patient confidentiality. To protect this fundamental patient right, you should not use any of these media to transmit information containing patient names or other medical records data that may be used to identify individual patients. When you are doing clinical rotations at our affiliated teaching hospitals, your strict compliance with patient confidentiality rules and regulations is expected, and lapses are subject to disciplinary procedures.

See Section 4.18: Patient Confidentiality and HIPAA.

Harvard University Digital Accessibility Policy

Policy Statement
Harvard University is committed to making its websites accessible. In accordance with this commitment, and with the knowledge that accessible digital content generally enhances usability for everyone, this Policy is established to improve the user experience for those with disabilities. The University recognizes that websites and web-based applications are often integral to the academic and administrative work of the University. This Policy addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities who seek to use University Websites to participate in University programs and activities and/or conduct University Business. Learn more about this policy at the accessibility website.

This policy applies to University Websites.

Accessibility Standards
For the purposes of this policy, Harvard University will use The Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1, Level AA Conformance (WCAG 2.1 Level AA) as “the Standards.”

Last updated 2/13/20