Decisions made by Knox’s Information Technology Services (ITS) over the summer have cut costs but have also affeced how student can access Knox’s computing services. Some services recieved new interfaces and some requirements and hours also changed.
According to Vice President and Chief Information Officer Steve Hall, these changes were made in an attempt to save money while experimenting with potentially better ways of managing technology on campus.
On March 27, in time for Spring Term, my.knox.edu took on a new look. As the centralized location for Knox events and information for students, it also added many features that the old webpage could not provide or make accessible. Megan Scott and James Stevens from the Office of Communications collaborated in the design of the new webpage.
“It became a responsive webpage. Before it wasn’t responsive, so accessing my.knox on your phone or tablet was a challenge,” Scott said. “We also made it truly personal so you can choose which apps are featured. We were just trying to make it more responsive, more adaptable for individuals and to feature additional items as well.”
Printing has also changed. Instead of allotting 300 printing pages per term, ITS has given each student $50 worth of pages for the entire academic year. This equates to 1,000 black and white pages at 5 cents each rather than the previous total of 900. Color pages cost 25 cents each. If a student goes beyond their $50 allotment, then they will be able to use their debit or credit card to buy more pages.
According to Hall, 78 percent of students never went over their 300 page quotas in the past. That system was costly to oversee and also brought on many unnecessary complications, such as students accidentally printing in color. Print release stations were added in order to ensure that students see the costs of each print job. Hall reports that the release stations saved Knox an estimated $13,000.
After a five year contract, Knox College is no longer providing students with Sophos Antivirus Software. According to Hall, the decision was made to stop providing Sophos or any other antivirus software because the contracts are currently too expensive. Hall also mentioned that free antivirus software has advanced enough to protect students’ computers without Knox providing it.
Perhaps the most controversial change this year is the decision to close Founders Lab after 2 a.m. and open again at 7:30 a.m. According to Hall, activity in the once all-hours computer lab dropped off after 2 a.m., and hiring staff to watch over the computers was an unnecessary cost.
“The cost of doing that was over $40,000 a year,” Hall said. “I thought I would give it a shot. Maybe this term is going to be an experiment. If this turns out to be a faux pas, then we’ll adjust. We’re flexible and adaptable.”