Information Technology Services > Printers for Open Computer Labs


New Printers for Open Computer Labs

During the week of Thanksgiving Recess (November 24-26, 2014), the open computer labs at every New River campus received new printers. This includes two Open Computer Labs at the GVC, one at the ATC, one at the Lee Street Complex, one at the NCC Allied Health building, one for the NCC main campus, two for the RCC (installation to be done in early January), and one at the MCC.


How to Use the New Printers

The new printing solution requires users to obtain a swipe card from the kiosk after inserting cash or a credit card. For example, if you want to print a 5-page paper you can insert a one dollar bill into the kiosk, then go to an Open Lab Computer to print your 5-page paper, then use your swipe card at the M500 console which is connected to the bizhub printer. Here is a short video explaining the process.


About the Open Computer Labs

Each New River campus provides open computer labs for students to use before, between, and after classes. On occasion, instructors also schedule these facilities for in-class use. But generally, these labs are open and accessible as long as the building they are in is open, so they are available for an extended number of hours per week. For many New River students these labs are the only available computing resources and certainly they are convenient to students who must come to campus anyway for classes. In each of these open computing labs, printers are available and the College has provided the toner and paper. Unfortunately, there have been no controls in place to limit or even track the printing that takes place in these labs. As a result, there has been extensive use of the printers with excessive resources simply being wasted as print jobs are sometimes sent more than once and not even picked up. As shared resources, these printers have sometimes caused confusion when someone else accidentally picks up the wrong print job as well.


The Solution

These issues are being resolved with a new fee-based printing solution that will serve to provide more controls and options for users who print in the open computing labs. Once installed, students will need to obtain a card by inserting money in a vending machine. Then that card will be used to tell the printing kiosk to print the job from the queue (after it has been sent) that belongs to the person with the card. Students will be able to identify their job from among all the jobs so that less confusion occurs (and more security of information). Additionally, print jobs from mobile devices will be possible using a freely available app called PrintMe. In summary, this solution will enable users to: (1) more closely track their own print jobs and prevent others from accidentally picking up the wrong print job, (2) enable printing from mobile devices, and (3) provide accountability for print jobs to reduce wasting resources.
The per-page fee is ten cents for black and white copies. The ten-cent fee is to allow the College to simply cover costs while providing improved services to students and reducing waste.

NOTE: The complete Communications Plan for this project is online as an additional resource.



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