New Tech, New Troubles

by Mark Botzong

Horizon Reporter

With new changes come new problems. The technology changes at Whatcom Community College are no exception. Ward Naf, Information Technology Director at Whatcom, highlighted a few of the problems associated with the changes.

If you have printed anything this quarter on campus, you may be aware of the limit of 150 pages before you have to start paying out of pocket. You may have also noticed if you print double-sided, you still are charged for the second page, even though it is on the same piece of paper.

In regards to this Naf said, “There is a cost to the first and second page,” Naf said. “When it prints double-sided, there is still wear and tear on the printer. Toner is still being used.” He added that a discount for printing double-sided could be given, but would result in more confusing charges. “We’ve made it a flat 10 cents.

How much does Whatcom spend on printer paper and ink?

“I don’t have an exact figure,” Naf said. “Two years ago we spent $20,000.” The recent changes were designed to reduce the cost of printing and to reduce wasteful printing.

Students may wonder how Whatcom decided on $15 as the correct amount for free printing.

“A year and a half ago we figured out what a common load was for a student,” Naf said. He added that the college surveyed different class subjects to see the average amount of printing needed for each student.

“We came up with 150 pages with the help of an advisory group and student government,” Naf said. “How you spend the pages is up to you.”

The printing limit is making students be more cautious when they print. Naf said “abandoned pages” were much fewer this quarter than before. “The library is very happy about this,” he said. They have been asking for a pay-for printing system for five years.”

Issues concerning students getting on to other students’ accounts came up as another issue.

“I have heard that it has happened, but haven’t verified it,” Naf said. The college is considering adding a time-out feature that would automatically log a student out of their account after a certain amount of inactive time, but that feature could also create problems  such as losing data.

“The only perfect solution is for people to protect themselves. Not writing down your password is one way. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If someone is looking over your shoulder, you shouldn’t say your password out loud.”

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