UCC Mainstream Online

GoPrint or Go Home

The new way to print on campus

GoPrint screens require students’ ID and passwords.
Dennis Wahlman / Mainstream
GoPrint screens require students’ ID and passwords.

Printing procedures are beginning to change on campus as the new GoPrint software continues to roll out.

Students are now required to log-in to GoPrint with their student I.D and pin number in order to print any materials off library lab computers and some lab computers, a big change from the touch screen release stations used previously.

When GoPrint was implemented in the library, students avoided the system by taking their print jobs to other campus locations. To stop that, GoPrint software will eventually be installed in every campus computer with printing capabilities, forcing all students to use the system.

“The plan is to do all campus computer labs. If you put a paid system in one place and don’t put it in another lab, where do students go? The one without the system. It has to be all or nothing,” said Lorrie Ranck, director of Information Technology.

The primary goal of this change is to reduce paper waste and the problems that were caused when multiple print jobs were being sent to a printer at the same time, according to administration.

“It’s not about making money. There is no money to be made here. It’s about being responsible, sustainable and using dollars wising,” said Ranck.

GoPrint may be reducing campus printing. Accurate analysis of the system’s impact is difficult since printing relates to enrollment; less printing is likely occurring simply because UCC has less students now, not just because GoPrint was installed. The system’s several steps may be preventing students from printing accidentally, however.

Although, according to Kathy Thomason, network administrator, over one-third of all print jobs initiated in the system are now being canceled in some way, the reasons for those cancellations are unclear. Students who see the pay and print screen, for example, may be simply walking away from print jobs because they don’t know payment is not required. Some cancellations may be a part of a learning curve, as a new method of printing rolls out. Is paper being saved as a result of GoPrint or are needed print jobs going unprinted?

Before the implementation of Go-Print, print jobs were tracked by an honor system. Students were expected to only print materials for their classes. The honor system, however, didn’t work.

For example, Thomason caught a person printing off about 200 wedding invitations in the library. David Hutchison, Library Director, often catches students printing materials for extracurricular activities. Sometimes the people doing the printing were not even UCC students, yet UCC students were subsidizing the cost of these print jobs, Hutchison said.

A GoPrint screen.
Dennis Wahlman / Mainstream
A GoPrint confirmation screen.

In spite of the effort to use GoPrint to benefit students, some students consider it a hassle. Others worry about the potential changes in printing costs.

“I shouldn’t be punished for printing the things I need to be successful in my classes. I know some students print, print, print but I print double sided, multiple items on a page,” said nursing student Sheri Wiley.

The technology department is still troubleshooting and integrating the new software across campus, so new printing policies won’t roll-out until spring 2014 at the earliest, said Thomason.  The policy allows 100 prints for every enrolled student, plus 10 additional prints per credit. Thomason defined a print as a single sheet of paper with ink on one side.

Additional prints will be five cents each. A GoPrint Kiosk is on order to handle money transactions for printing. The kiosk will accept cash and debit cards. Students can enter debit card numbers from the computer as well. Financial aid will not be able to cover printing expenses at this time.

Charging college students for printing or limiting prints is common.  GoPrint software is used in over 600 higher education faculties across the United States.  Lane Community College now has a policy similar to the proposed UCC policy.

“If it is costing people money, it will really make people more careful when printing,” said David Hutchison, Library Director and co-chair of the Campus Technology Oversight Committee.

Hutchison encourages instructors to condense lecture material in order reduce paper waste and help students with the potential costs of printing. Hutchison also recommended students ask for help from library staff or a lab aid, rather than troubleshoot printing problems independently.

The implementation of GoPrint is not intended to be a punishment, according to Ranck. It is being implemented to increase “printing literacy” among students and faculty. By forcing students to avoid unnecessary printing, student technology fees can be used to upgrade software, add wireless connectivity and purchase new equipment, according to 2012 student government officer Kristi Carr.

Carr researched print management systems as a way to see technology fees be spent more wisely than strictly on printing. The technology fee does not exclusively cover printing costs, a common misconception. Banner and Angel software licensing, lab maintenance, software updates and other costs associated with technology on campus are all covered with that fee. Over time, Carr predicted GoPrint software would reduce print costs enough to make the change worthwhile. Carr was directly involved with research and proposing GoPrint software.