Students and staff at St. Thomas University are now able to print papers without walking into a lab. A new system allows students to print from their laptop, tablet, or smart phone anywhere on campus and go pick it up without having to wait in long lines in stuffy labs.
STU’s new wireless printing can be accessed at webprint.stu.ca. In order to use it you enter your student login and password, upload the file, choose a printer and go pick it up.
Emilee Mitchell says the new wireless printing is convenient because most of her classes are in BMH.
“I am in the Bachelor of Education program this year and I did my undergrad at STU. This has been the first time I ever used any print credits,” said Mitchell. “I always found it an inconvenience going to the lab, but having it available with a few simple clicks makes it more appealing to me, especially if I have forgotten to print something off and need it quickly.”
Other than the printer in BMH, web printing is also available in MNMH, JDH and even at the HIL.
Director of IT Services at STU, Dan Hurley, is excited about the new software. Hurley and his team started a plan for web printing last year. The initial installation was in July.
Hurley said IT wanted to give students better service and reduce the pressure on computer labs. Besides reducing the number of lab seats at STU, Hurley said, web printing will be beneficial because students use laptops much more often.
“One thing I asked students last year was ‘why are you sitting in this crowded lab?’ It’s because they just needed to print this two-page paper,” said Hurley. “It’d be great if they could just go to their laptop, print, come pick it up and they wouldn’t have to go to the lab. It’s a small enough project that it’s something we can do internally quite easily. So, it’s not something I had to go talk to the President about.”
Although Hurley sent an email to students last week about web printing, he said the IT department hasn’t made a big promotion about it yet so they can test out the stability before they have a large number of people using it at once.
The IT department used the system, Pcounter, to set up web printing. It’s the same system they use for automatic print credits on lab computers. Hurley said Pcounter is popular in education spaces.
UNB also uses the same system. It is called “Everyone Prints.” However, Hurley said the system is only available to UNB staff.
Hurley said it’s possible there will be no labs at STU in the future, but his staff is not working towards that as of now.
“I think maybe computer labs like [JDH] will go away but it will be a much longer haul before you see teaching labs like the ones in Edmund Casey disappear, where a faculty member does a class in front of a bunch of students and asks them to copy what she is doing. That kind of thing is difficult to do with everyone on their laptops because some people have Macs and others have PCs,” Hurley said.
“We don’t have a plan to eliminate computer labs at this point, but maybe five years down the road we might be revisiting that.”
Hurley understands that there are still some people who either don’t have laptops or don’t like to bring them to class.
Hurley and his team’s next project is promotion of web printing.
He said web printing project is a nice change of pace. Hurley said he gets a lot of angry people in the IT department and is usually called to fix things.
“I’m really happy about being able to provide a new service that actually improves students’ experience.”
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