Technology Plan - Open Labs
College learning requires students to study beyond the scheduled lecture and lab class experiences. The Carnegie “unit” is based on a minimum of three hours of homework for every hour of lecture, and lab work often involves protracted study and work outside the scheduled lab meeting time. An additional challenge comes from courses that require the use of specialized software like AutoCAD, Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro, and others that are normally not covered with campus-wide licensing agreements. Even though the majority of households now have computers, students might not have access to specialized software and colleges are reluctant to suggest that students need to purchase expensive software.
Chabot currently has three types of open labs: those open to all students (Library), those open to all students when no classes are scheduled (WRAC Center) and those open only to those registered in software specific classes when no classes are scheduled (digital arts lab, Autocad lab, etc.). As an increasing number of courses incorporate digital content, we need to increase student access to computers and specialized software. Budget will drive the size and scope of access, but there will be access.
Factors that impact student access to open computer labs:
- Facility design (Larger multi-use computer “malls” tend to have better efficiencies for staffing costs)
- Operational budgets (Staffing, hardware/software, server maintenance)
- Rising popularity of web-based activities
- Curriculum and syllabus requirements
Online class growth along with the expansion of software for traditional courses has led to some courses requiring students to shoulder the burden of computer and software access. Some help comes from:
- Publisher-provided software (sometimes included with textbook purchases)
- Freeware and introductory software packages
- Educational pricing
The wireless environment and the increasing number of students bringing laptops to school help somewhat, but students wishing to print from their laptops must access a lab computer in order to print. During peak times, this lack of access is an issue.
- Campus remodel will reserve adequate space for student access to open computing
- Budgets will be optimized to provide staffing, software, and hardware
- Faculty will balance course requirements for specialized open access with alternate solutions
- Open labs will employ a variety of solutions to maximize student access such as dedicated servers, reserved stations, and close management during peak use