Policies & Guidelines

These policies and guidelines are meant to help you navigate working with technology here at Martin Luther College.

Copyright Infringement

As required by law, Martin Luther College (MLC) is notifying all students of the copyright law concerning music and video. Please read the following.

Sharing Music and Videos

In simple terms, possession of a song or movie that you have not paid for is illegal. You should not share or accept copies of music or videos with another individual. Copying a CD or DVD or creating a digital copy (MP3, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, etc.) and sharing it with anyone is a violation of copyright law. Many peer-to-peer (P2P) programs like Bit Torrent, LimeWire, Ares, and KaZaA allow computers to share files, including music and video, with no regard to restrictions placed on the material by the copyright owners. Most commercially produced music and videos are copyright protected and cannot be freely shared. This is the law. You should be aware that P2P networks are monitored by the Recording Industry Association of America and actions have been taken, both civically and legally against those found to be in violation. MLC is required to provide the names of those who have violated copyrights if notified. Keep in mind that ALL internet traffic is logged and can be traced to an individual IP address.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys' fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at http://copyright.gov, especially their FAQ's at http://copyright.gov/help/faq.

Not all free sources of content are illegal. Some sites provide content at no charge; they are funded by advertising or represent artist who want their material distributed for free, or for other reasons. The link following has many sites, maintained by EDUCAUSE, that offer legal downloads, both free and at a cost: http://educause.edu/legalcontent.

Acceptable Use Policy

This Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) document, including the following list of Prohibited Activities, is an integral part of your access to the network at Martin Luther College. If you engage in any of the activities prohibited by this AUP document Martin Luther College may suspend or terminate your account.

Martin Luther College's Acceptable Use Policy for Network Services is designed to help protect Martin Luther College, Martin Luther College's network users and the Internet community in general from irresponsible or, in some cases, illegal activities. The AUP is a non-exclusive list of the actions prohibited by Martin Luther College. Martin Luther College reserves the right to modify the Policy at any time, effective upon posting here.

Prohibited Uses of Martin Luther College Systems and Services

  1. Transmission, distribution or storage of any material in violation of any applicable law or regulation is prohibited. Copying, storing, and/or distributing copyrighted materials without appropriate authorization. Unauthorized copying may constitute plagiarism or theft. While music and video “sharing” programs make copyrighted material available (see legal alternatives below), it is still illegal to copy, store and distribute copyrighted materials without authorization.(see summary of civil and criminal penalties below) This includes, without limitation, material protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property right used without proper authorization, and material that is obscene, defamatory, constitutes an illegal threat, or violates export control laws.
  2. Advertising, transmitting, or otherwise making available any software, program, product, or service that is designed to violate this AUP which includes, but is not limited to, the facilitation of the means to send Unsolicited Bulk Email, initiation of pinging, flooding, mail-bombing, denial of service attacks, causing congestion on the network by activities such as propagating “chain letters”, “broadcasting” messages to groups or individuals, introducing any computer viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, spy ware, and playing of interactive network multi-user games.
  3. Unauthorized attempts by a user to gain access to any account or computer resource not belonging to that user (e.g., “cracking”).
  4. Sharing login information and passwords with others. Be careful about making personal information about yourself and others available on the internet.
  5. Unauthorized access, alteration, destruction, or any attempt thereof, of any information of any Martin Luther College end-users by any means or device.
  6. Using Martin Luther College's services to interfere with the use of the Martin Luther College network authorized users.
  7. Using the network for any purpose which violates federal/state laws.
  8. Using the network for commercial purposes.
  9. Misrepresenting your identity in the use of the network.
  10. Using an IP address not assigned to you.
  11. Sending or storing patently harassing, intimidating, abusive, or sexually explicit material.
  12. Intercepting or altering network packets or data transmissions.

Unacceptable uses of the network may result in reprimand, loss of Internet access, loss of your network account, or other disciplinary actions. In cases where unacceptable use severely impacts performance or security, Network Services will immediately suspend an individual's access privileges to maintain reasonable service for the rest of the network. This policy is subject to amendment.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Not all free sources of content are illegal. Some sites provide content at no charge; they are funded by advertising or represent artist who want their material distributed for free, or for other reasons. The link following has many sites, maintained by EDUCAUSE, that offer legal downloads, both free and at a cost: http://educause.edu/legalcontent.

MLC Student-Owned Devices Policy

Students at MLC are expected to have a student-owned computing device available for use in class. It is up to the individual instructor as to how devices will be used in their classrooms. Not every instructor will use the devices on a daily basis, but only when it enhances the learning experience in some way.

Functionality of Devices

The goal of any device is to be usable in a variety of contexts. Because of this it is recommended to purchase a device that is durable and has a long battery life. It will need to handle the rigors of student life on campus. It is wise to discuss the specifications of any device under consideration with the chosen vendor, who will help in the difficult balance between cost, efficiency, and robustness (i.e. consider specifications as well as cost when purchasing).

The main use of devices in class often centers around the use of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools, along with a web browser (the learning management system on campus is accessed through a web browser). Access to a modern web browser is a requirement.

Please note: Google Apps for Education is web-based and is free to all instructors and students at MLC. It includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. In addition, recent versions of Microsoft Office are available through MLC Network Services for both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X computers at a greatly reduced price.

MLC does not publish a recommended device list for students to choose from, but we do list some recommended minimum specifications to enable students to make an informed decision around which device(s) to purchase. You are free to choose the specific model/brand you desire along with insurance and/or service agreements through your vendor.


In general, laptops/notebooks are the most commonly purchased device for use in the classroom. There are a number of different brands/manufacturers to choose from with a variety of price-points. Laptops in general are larger, heavier, and have a shorter battery life than some other devices, such as tablets, but balance that with built-in keyboards, optional touch screens, higher performance, and ability to run some legacy software.

Specifications to Look At


Tablets are usually smaller, less powerful, simpler devices than laptops/notebooks. Often they have better battery life to go along with being easier to slip into your bag to take to class. While often considered secondary devices to a desktop or laptop in your room, they are becoming more and more capable as time goes on, but be aware of the limitations of using these devices. There are some educational programs and other tools that will not run on tablets.

Specifications to Look At

Specifications are hard to quantify when it comes to tablet devices. The main thing to keep in mind is to purchase newer devices that are loaded with a recent version of the tablet’s operating system.

As of May 2016, these are the most recent versions of common operating systems:


More common years ago, some students still use desktops in their dorm room and have a separate device to take to class when needed.

Specifications to Look At

  • Modern Operating System
    • Microsoft Windows 10 or later
    • Apple OS X 10.13 High Sierra or later
    • Google Chromebox
    • Various Linux Distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, etc.)
  • GB RAM (memory) or greater
  • 128 GB hard drive (HDD or SSD) or greater (not applicable to Chromebooks)
  • Webcam and Microphone

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to load any software on my device prior to coming to MLC?

Many devices come with a lot of preloaded software when purchased. Additional software may be needed depending on the activities the student chooses to engage in. Many free software alternatives, such as Google Apps, are available and students are encouraged to make use of them. Instructors will inform students of any specific apps that are required for their classes. Also, each student is required to carry security software to detect, prevent, and mitigate viruses, malware, spyware, and other nefarious software. What program to specifically install is up to the student, but there are free offerings available from many vendors.

Is it essential that I have Microsoft Office software (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) on my device?

While having these programs on your device might be beneficial due to their greater functionality compared to some free alternatives, they are not required. All devices need to be able to access and work with word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet files. The specific program you use is up to you.

If I wish to have Microsoft Office software available on my device, should I purchase this before or after coming to MLC?

If the software is not included with the purchase of your device, it is suggested that you purchase the software after coming to MLC since it is available at a much lower cost to students through MLC. Further information is available on the MLC Network Services website.

What should I do if there is a problem with my device while at MLC?

You are welcome to check with Network Services for direction.

What responsibility will MLC take if my device is stolen and/or broken at MLC?

The student is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and security of his/her own device. MLC carries no insurance on the personal belongings of students.

May the students use 3G/4G/LTE as well as WiFi?

Yes, students may use their own data plans. There is no guarantee provided as to the signal strength of cellular providers on campus. MLC also has available to students a wireless network, which is safe and monitored.