CIRC resolves student computer concerns

The Computer Information and Resource Center addressed student concerns and opened the lines of communication between students and CIRC at its second advisory board meeting Wednesday, said P.B. Garrett, CIRC assistant director of client services.

Students at the meeting said they were concerned about the lack of CIRC personnel who manage and monitor computer labs in the residence halls. But Alexa Kim, director of Student and Academic Support Services Technology Communications, said SASS Comm Technology is responsible for managing the residence hall computer labs.

Students also recommended CIRC offer technical assistance in the computer labs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Technical assistance was available only until 10 p.m., but in response to students requests, it recently was extended to 1 a.m. Students also said they need assistance between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.

But CIRC officials said they would have to hire two new employees to cover the time period and said they are unsure if enough funding is available.

CIRC has addressed student concerns about paper jams and availability in the labs by creating the lab manager position to address these problems this year. Lab manager David Cain distributes paper to the labs and checks technical and general problems every morning.

Students also requested more “help” features on the GWIS2 system, especially information on UNIX basic commands. CIRC officials said they may offer UNIX classes or provide informational handouts.

Garrett is developing an outreach initiative called Ask CIRC to make staff members available on a routine basis to answer student questions. Locations under consideration for the program are Thurston Hall, the Marvin Center and the Mount Vernon campus.

The board also decided to place signs on computer monitors that will carry messages such as “Think before you print” or “Don’t send multiple print jobs” in an effort to cut down wasted paper in the computer labs.

GW is the only institution in the area that does not charge for printing. CIRC officials said they do not want to take printing privileges away from students.

Ann McCarthy, training coordinator for CIRC, was hired in August to evaluate the curriculum for the training courses offered to students. McCarthy said she will create necessary courses to ensure GW offers effective training.

“The meeting was very refreshing,” Garrett said. “The students were motivated and interested in sharing. I was impressed.”

Another CIRC advisory board meeting is scheduled for next month.

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