With final paper deadlines approaching, it’s more of a priority than ever for students to have access to printers on campus. This is why Farley Library Dean John Stachacz is trying to find ways to make printing better and easier for students.
“Because it’s important, if you have to turn a paper in you’ve got to have a printer that works,” Stachacz said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Stachacz helped facilitate the replacement of outdated printers in the library to try to solve problems that had been occurring during printing. However, there is an existing need for continued maintenance and updates, which Stachacz hopes to assist in his new position as dean of Information Technology Services.
Stachacz said there were some issues with the older printers from the beginning of the semester. Mostly, these stemmed from software problems rather than hardware problems.
“They were out of date, even though they’re not that old,” Stachacz said. “The technology changes so quickly.”
The old software was not adapted to upgrades in things like the online classroom system Desire2Learn and a new style of PDFs.
“So what would happen is the machine would blink, trying to figure out how to do it, and while that was occurring other students were getting into the cue with trying to get prints done, and the machine would just go nuts,” Stachacz said. “It was just overwhelmed.”
Another problem was the absence of a color printer. The Xerox machine was set up to process color prints, but Stachacz said that wasn’t a solution.
He felt these were vital problems to address because he said those machines are among the most popular on campus.
“These are the workhorses of campus,” Stachacz said. “Students probably use those six printers probably more than any of them around campus. From almost 7:30 in the morning to midnight those printers are going almost constantly.”
To resolve the issue, the four black and white printers on the main floor of the library were replaced with two newer black and white printers and one color printer. Stachacz said the new machines are faster and have higher capacity.
“We haven’t seen any of the problems that we’ve had before,” he said.
Even though there are fewer black and white printers to work with, Stachacz said the quality outweighs quantity.
“It’s better to have two working printers than to have four nonworking printers, which is where we were at some points,” Stachacz said.
Gloria Barlow, chief information officer of ITS, said the decision to replace printers depends on the individual wear and tear rather than a specific age.
She said they are generally replaced when it becomes more costly to repair them than buy a new one.
Though, she said minor problems like jams come with the territory, even for the new equipment.
“I think it’s important for students to understand, first off, printers are mechanical,” Barlow said. “They jam. They break.”
Barlow said the main concerns she has heard from students are on jams and running out of paper.
She said these can be frustrating for students to deal with, especially when they’re printing assignments a few minutes before class.
“I do know that it gets frustrating for students and it’s difficult to support sometimes when people are angry or frustrated. If the printer jams, rather than try to clear it they just leave it for the next student.”
This frustration is what she thinks led to vandalizing one of the printers in Stark Learning Center earlier this semester. The machine had to be replaced.
“It was completely smashed and broken,” Barlow said.
If students run into problems, Barlow encourages them to call the help desk at 408-2FIX to report things like jams.
Since all the printers are connected by a network, students can also send their print jobs to another location to pick up by selecting “find printer” in the print screen.