Save a Tree.....E-mail Your Homework!
By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Student Computing Services Manager and Conservationist
Ah, the Paperless University...... not! As I lug a huge filled recycle bin from the General Access Lab I manage to the hallway, I pause and think, "Where did we go wrong? Why are so many people printing so many documents? Haven't they heard of turning their papers in on diskette? Shouldn't I really be working instead of daydreaming about other people's problems....." As another busy semester ends, it is an excellent time to review printing guidelines and policies in the several UNT General Access Labs scattered around the campus.
Printing Policies for General Access Labs
Printing is a popular past-time in the General Access Labs. After all, what better way to remember the URL of that really cool Metallica Website (you know, the one with all the pictures?) than to print out the entire site for future reference? In all seriousness, a comprehensive printing policy has been developed for the General Access Labs and is currently published online in the policies and procedures portion of the GAL Website. If you have not reviewed this policy recently, now is the time to do so as it affects all patrons of the labs. Several of the labs also have more detailed policies, and it is important for faculty, staff, and students to be aware of these when assigning and/or completing schoolwork and other tasks. Only work which falls under the university guidelines for meeting the degree requirements for all courses taken may be printed in the General Access Labs, and printing will be provided only to UNT students as it directly relates to their class work. Printing activity generally revolves around Internet class work and research; the creation of assignments and papers; the development of flyers, posters, and artwork; and the final printing of important large-scale projects and reports. The lab manager has the final authority in all printing policies and procedures for his or her lab.
Internet printing for courses is not permitted unless the lab manager is made aware of and has also approved of the nature of the print job. Most Internet content does not need to be printed; students can take notes from the digital page as easily as they do from other research texts. Additionally, with the increased opportunity to take courses online, students and faculty alike should plan for a minimum amount of necessary printing for these classes. All lab users are responsible for knowing how many pages an Internet document contains before they execute a print job. Several of the General Access Labs have color printing but few allow the printing of Web pages in color. Class notes, course instructions, and Web- and multimedia-based materials should not be printed in the labs. Course instructors should print these materials using departmental resources and hand them out in class. Email also should not be printed and if PowerPoint presentations must be printed, several "slides" should be included on each page. (the printing of PowerPoint presentations is strongly discouraged and is also unnecessary as these can easily be saved onto disk.)
The printing of assignments and papers is welcome in the labs but more than 20 pages of printing per job is not allowed. Additionally, if copies of documents are being printed for revision, please be sure to utilize the toner-saving draft copy settings. Users are also encouraged to employ double-sided printing when at all possible. Ask a lab monitor if "duplexed printing" is available and have them demonstrate how to set options for double-sided work if needed. Please notify the lab manager about the printing of large jobs like a thesis or dissertation. These large print jobs should be scheduled for execution during off-peak hours, evenings, or weekends. Finally, the multiple copying of a document is not permitted. Most areas have Xerox machines and people needing extra copies can print them on these.
Several labs on campus have special printing services available in them for patrons creating artistic content such as flyers, graphic designs, and signs. Lab users are not allowed to print such items unless they are directly related to UNT course work and proof of this is required. Labs with color printing and large-scale printing usually have specific restrictions for these services, and users should check with each lab's manager about these policies. Many of the labs also have their regulations posted and available on the Web for easy access.
Finally, lab managers have the authority to grant special printing requests and to specifically deny printing and lab access for any user who abuses printing policies. Lab managers meet regularly to discuss and review the printing needs of General Access Lab users and to keep up to date on the abuse of policies already in place. The University of North Texas is one of the few institutions to have free laser printing available to its faculty, staff, and students, however, abuse of this rare privilege could lead to the establishment of additional printing fees in the future.
In the meantime, all campus computer users are encouraged to "turn over a new leaf" (and save one in the process!) and trying living digitally. Ask professors if they will accept emailed papers instead of hard copies, save favorite Web pages and URLs to disk, and take notes and info from the Internet like you would from a "physical" text in the library. The tree you save might be your own (you know, that scrawny one in your front yard......) !