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Taking a byte out of old computers

 

During the entire semester in Visual Communication class,communication senior Karina Capistran has struggled with malfunctioning computers in the Life and Health Sciences Building computer lab on the Brownsville campus.

“Suddenly, they turn off and we’re taking this class,” Capistran said. “If you don’t get the hang of what the professor
is doing or if you’re not typing the coding you’re supposed to type for the Dreamweaver [software], you’re lost. … That creates a problem to where you can even fail the class because … the computer shut down suddenly. Now you’re, like,behind.”

In an interview with The Rider last Tuesday, Isai Ramirez, UTRGV associate information officer for business relationships in the Information Technology department, said there is a plan to update the 442 diskless computers in the Brownsville labs.

“The plan is really to switch over the Brownsville computer labs that are diskless back to a disk technology,” Ramirez said.

“That will, hopefully, alleviate some of [the] issues that we’ve been having.”

The IT Academic and Student Services Department will start the project this month, starting with about 226 machines.

“We are targeting to start that project in December because that is when we’ll least interrupt users,” Ramirez said. “We are targeting the remainder [to be] completed by the end of the [spring] semester,approximately in May.”

The targeted computer labs are located in Main Building,

LHSB and the library. IT is in the process of determining which equipment will be updated, he said. The hardware that is anticipated to be purchased will be either Dell or HP.

“Part of the project is to use hardware that [we] already own,” Ramirez said. “That is what we’re planning to use first so that we leverage the computer disks that we already have on hand that we can use. Therefore, that will minimize
the cost. Now, the issue is that some disks that we have on hand may not be large enough to have all of the software that is needed in order for some of our faculty and students to use.”

At this time, they have estimated spending $18,353 for the software licenses that will help IT manage the hardware. The project is currently in an assessment phase to determine which computers need hard drives and additional software.

 

A budget of $30,000 is estimated for these purchases.

“So, if we run into an issue of we’re not able to sit all of the software on some of the disks that are smaller in size, then we will need to go out and purchase some more disks,” Ramirez said.

Political Science Assistant Professor Michelle Keck has had some problems this semester with classroom computers freezing when she is lecturing to her students.She’s also had issues when the software needed to take quizzes, via the use of clickers, freezes and does not record the results.

“Generally, I have not had any major problems. … I think that as long as the updates occur in a time where professors aren’t getting disrupted during the class, then I’m all for it,” Keck said.

Capistran said the update will be good for the Brownsville campus because it will help students feel prepared with the
equipment they need in order to succeed.

“To me, we need to get new equipment, not only the software but we need to get at least new computers,” the communication major said. “I think the computers that we have might not be updated and upgraded. We need better equipment, better materials for the students, to be able survive school.I mean, you come to school, expecting
all of your equipment to be ready to go.Then what do you get? You get crappy computers. My opinion toward this is
that I think it’s good. It’s better.”

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