350 laptops prepped for the new year

We really know how to start the new academic year in style! Each year, in addition to the usual business of rolling out new facilities and services, we also update and check each employee and student laptop computer. That’s over 350 laptop computers in three weeks! The last 270 of these arrive in four days. We are caught in a classic dilemma — encourage student responsibility by teaching students to update their own machines or ensure the smooth operation of the computers by doing the work ourselves? If computers were not so finicky and fragile, the choice would be easy. However, even the tech staff struggle to get every computer on wireless and updated with the latest software. Would it really be the best use of students’ time to have them complete all the steps? This year’s prep work was atypically time-consuming, in that we updated print, file, and wireless services all in the same summer. It took nine people four straight 12-hour days to complete them all. Next year, we should have a lot less to do. And though we have learned a good deal about making the process very efficient, we still have plenty of opportunities to automate the process to a greater degree using remote control and profiling utilities. Summer is officially over! On with the school year!

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