General Access Computer Labs Enjoy a Quiet Summer

By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Assistant Director - Academic Computing and User Services

During the summer of 2010 the UNT General Access Computer Labs (GACLs) remained busy with summer student patrons but were able to enjoy time away from initiating huge projects. Much activity focused on cleaning, refreshing lab machine installations and getting all functions and applications working well with the new software offerings from Microsoft. In addition to its usual summer traffic, many of the labs were host to a variety of camps and institutes as well as new students registering for fall during orientation.

The UNT GACL system includes 14 labs on the UNT main campus, the Discovery Park and UNT-Dallas. The labs feature Windows and Macintosh computers with several facilities featuring iMacs where student patrons choose the operating system they prefer to use. MS Office is available with other general hardware and software including web browsers, DVD burners, scanners and color and black-and-white printers. Laser printing of classwork in the labs remains a free service paid for by the technology fee. Many labs also have specialized software and hardware pertinent to the students working in the schools, colleges, or departments in which they are housed. One lab is open 24/7 (Willis), one is open 24/5 (Chilton Hall) while the rest are open until midnight or 2:00 a.m. The majority of the labs are now self-service with students logging into lab machines with their EUID and password. However, students should still bring a valid UNT Student ID to show to the lab consultant in order to gain entrance to the facility.

Several labs updated their Microsoft distributions to Windows 7 and Office 2010. These include the College of Education Lab (Matthews Hall 309), the ACUS/Adaptive Technology Lab (ISB 104), the PACS/SMHM Lab (Chilton Hall 255) and the College of Visual Art and Design Lab (Art 232). Willis has moved to Windows 7 only and the College of Engineering has moved to Office 2010 only. Additionally, the College of Education (COE) Lab replaced 1/3 of its printers with color printers that utilize solid ink instead of toner embracing the idea of a lab with "green" printing facilities. The COE Lab also has replaced four of its PC workstations with iMacs. Staff at the College of Visual Art and Design (CVAD) Lab invite patrons to come see their newly painted walls and re-arranged furniture (for a cleaner look). Other GACLs (College of Arts and Sciences, College of Information and College of Music) report no major changes to their facilities for the fall.

A few "side projects" were undertaken by lab management as well. As reported in this April 2010 article, ACUS now has computer kiosks in front of the CITC Helpdesk area and they have proven to be popular this summer. Additionally, the folks in CVAD have installed new digital displays outside the hallway of their lab which will showcase student art work and give college event information.

For more information about the labs including policies, lab locations, and lab hours visit the GACL website at www.gacl.unt.edu.