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Computer labs maintain popularity despite growing number of personal devices

January 26, 2016

The University of Minnesota maintains computer labs across the Twin Cities campus, offering a suite of computers, software, scanners and printers to more than 68,000 students, faculty and staff. Despite a rising number of student-owned devices, these labs continue to see more than 4,500 unique visits each month.

Many students use the computer labs as a resource in between classes, either writing papers or browsing the Web. But perhaps the biggest draw is free access to software that can cost upwards of $1000, notably Adobe Creative Suite, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and SPSS.

Students are encouraged to visit the Academic Technology Spaces website to find a nearby computer lab or specific software product. The Walter Library space is most heavily used, particularly from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., so it may be helpful to check out our Coffman locations during these hours.

A few other tips:

  • Add Gopher Gold funds to your UCard before visiting the labs if you plan to print. This can be done at the UCard office or at one of the Value Port locations around campus.

  • Logout of email, Moodle and all other accounts prior to leaving a computer station.

  • Do not leave personal belongings unattended at any time.

An alternative to the computer lab is being piloted at the University. Known as Apps to Go, this application delivery service allows students to run software anywhere, anytime without having to directly install it onto their preferred device.

Seven applications are currently available -- Ansys, Creo, Solidworks, Mathematica, ArcGIS, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio, and STATA IC 14 64-bit. Students must be enrolled in a pilot course that uses one of these applications in order to use Apps to Go during this initial phase. Those that meet this requirement can complete the Access Request Form to get started.

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