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UNT General Access Labs: What We Did This Summer

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UNT General Access Labs:
What We Did This Summer

By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Student Computing Services Manager

Ah summer! Time to kick back and relax...put your feet up...... Not if you are UNT computing personnel! Summertime means less students and less mission-critical academic computing. Your friendly tech staff use this time to experiment, upgrade, redesign, and implement computing resources throughout the campus. We toil endlessly while you suntan so that when the UNT community returns in full fall force, everything is once again state-of-the-art and fully functional!

Upgrades made the summer go faster

The managers and staff of the general access labs are no different and we spend our summers upgrading and improving just like everyone else. This year the primary goal of many labs was to deploy Windows2000 and also to improve tech support and machine management through the utilization of Zenworks 3. Additionally, through remodeling and software upgrades, the labs now have much better ADA accomodations throughout the entire system.

Leading the pack with machine upgrades are the College of Education (Matthews 309) and the School of Community Service (Chilton 255) general access labs with the acquisition of Pentium III 1 gHz computers. The College of Business labs (BA 333-335) also upgraded to PIII800s. Macintosh upgrades occurred in the Academic Computing Services (ISB 110) lab and in one of the School of Visual Arts (Art 232) rooms which does double-time as a lab and a classroom. These labs now boast the latest Macintosh G4s. The Academic Computing Services lab also added new PC and Macintosh USB scanners with both photo and text (OCR) digitization as well as three additional CD-ROM burners. Once confined to the Music and Art labs, CD-burners can be found now in a number of facilities. The Music lab (MB 238) continues to provide a variety of specialized professional audio and video components for use.

Software upgrades were a major part of this summer's activities. Though the labs are remaining with Macintosh OS9.x, patrons will find Windows2000 in almost all of the facilities. The exceptions to this are the College of Business lab and the Willis Library lab which must remain with Win98/NT technology until all vital applications in their areas are made Win2k compatible. Web developers and multimedia aficionados will be happy to find several products from Macromedia more widely distributed in the labs. Both the College of Education and the ISB Graduate Student lab (ISB205C) now have Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver available. Additionally, the College of Education has computer-based tutorials online for these applications. Most of the labs also have all plug-ins necessary for the running of WebCT and Smartforce courseware.

new flat-panel displays in Wooten Hall lab
These new Wooten Hall flat-panel displays look so cool!

Then there was the renovation and remodeling

Renovation and remodeling were important components of the College of Arts and Sciences labs. The Wooten Hall lab (Wooten 120) was painted, carpeted and outfitted with flat-panel LCD monitors allowing for full ADA compliance and providing for much needed desktop space. The College of Education lab also acquired flat-panel displays as well as optical mice allowing much greater workspace flexibility for its patrons. Several of the labs had major wiring projects completed allowing for faster network access. Readers are reminded that the general access lab system also acquired a whole new facility this summer with the opening of our fourteenth lab at the System Center at Dallas.

ADA features were added and security was improved also

Finally and most importantly, all of the general access labs have more ADA features to offer. Both the Academic Computing Service and the School of Community Service labs offer Zoomtext and JAWS on all of their machines for sight-challenged patrons. The majority of the other labs have either one or both of these applications on many of their machines. Patrons are encouraged to call first to ensure availability of these workstations. Of course, the Adaptive lab (Chilton 116) continues to have the most comprehensive accommodations.

One additional item that both the College of Business and Willis Library labs have added are security cameras for the safety of their patrons.

Ahhh ...

As always after a long hot summer, all members of the UNT community are strongly encouraged to review the policies and procedures of the General Access Labs at their Website. And while you are doing that, we shall just sit back, relax, and rejoice that OUR busy summer is over!