Were students consulted on the new Print and Copy stations?
Students were consulted and identified cost, access, lack of consistency in charges for photocopying and printing across campuses and the pay, print and collect system then in operation as key issues to be addressed. Students also requested a simpler system for purchasing print and copy credits.
How did the University select the new suppliers?
In accordance with European Union regulations, the University issued a tender specification for the new equipment and service provision. The tender proposed an integrated, networked solution for printing and copying in accordance with the recommendations from the review.
The tender was awarded to Ricoh for the new Multi Functional Devices (MFDs); PCounter for the print management system and ICS for the card print and copy access system. These companies had a track record of successful implementation at many other Universities.
What is so different about the new printing and copying service?
New equipment on every campus allows students to print, copy and scan using the same machine, with A4 and A3 colour and mono available at every Print and Copy station. State-of-the-art card readers provide clear information on the status of print and copy jobs and messages can be adapted to meet user needs.
Payment is from a single account which can be topped up using machines in every LLC. Students can choose at any time (even after they have sent a job to print) to use any Print and Copy station on the campus or cancel a job that is no longer required, saving time, money and waste.
What are the benefits for students?
- Improved quality –new equipment using the latest digital technology
- More capacity –every machine print, copies and scans
- Faster machines –faster speed in both mono or colour
- Increased access to colour – all machines are colour capable
- Quicker collection – you can pull your print to any student device on the campus
- Improved print and collect process - eliminates losing your work / improves security
- Easier queuing –pick your work up from the next machine available
- Fairer charging – you only pay for what you actually print and copy
- Uniform pricing –the same charge for copying and printing on all campuses
- Greener printing – reduced carbon footprint of devices
- Less waste and less landfill - un-necessary/un-wanted queued prints can be deleted
- Increased scanning provision – devices can colour scan
- One ID card - eliminates separate print/copier cards by copying and printing on one P-Counter account activated by your ID card
- An efficient auditing system - complaints about lost work and poor quality prints can be easily investigated and resolved
Why did we implement the new solution at the start of the academic year and what went wrong?
Implementation was scheduled for July and August 2009 to ensure the new service was fully operational by the start of the new academic year. Although the installation targets were achieved, the project encountered a series of complex technical problems which required more development work before the solution could be fully integrated into the UCA environment. Some of these problems became apparent only when the equipment was fully utilised i.e. after staff and students had returned, which resulted in the problems experienced at the start of the year.
Have the problems been resolved?
The problems which were causing the main paralysis of the system have been clearly identified and resolved. UCA's IT Services team worked closely with the suppliers to investigate and resolve the problems and to establish a stable platform for the new service.
All parties will continue to work together to maintain this stability and improve the service. Although, as with any technical solution, problems may occur from time to time, effective support mechanisms are in place to ensure a fast response.
Why have some prices increased?
Uniform charges for printing and copying have been implemented across all five campuses and brought in line with national HE benchmarks supplied by the Student Union as part of the consultation process. Although economies of scale prevent UCA from offering the cheapest price, charges overall have been reduced whilst the quality and capability of the equipment has increased.
The new charges are as follows:
Format Charge Comment A4 Black 5p Reduced or remained the same A3 Black 10p Reduced or remained the same A4 Colour 38p Reduced across all 5 campuses A3 Colour 75p Reduced across all 5 campuses
Format Charge Comment A4 Black 5p Reduced or remained the same A3 Black 10p Reduced or remained the same A4 Colour 38p Reduced or remained the same A3 Colour 75p Reduced or remained the same
All charges will be reviewed at the end of each academic year.
Are we making a profit from student printing and copying?
No. Income generated from the sale of print and copy credits to students is used to cover the costs of the service provided and to invest in new equipment and new technology to improve services. The new fleet of Print and Copy Stations and associated technologies (convenient Value Loaders, touch screen Card Readers and SMART ID cards) represent a significant investment for the University.
Why are there fewer machines overall in some LLCs?
Previously, the LLCs had a combination of standalone copiers and networked printers. Students had to queue to use one or other facility and could retrieve prints only from a pre-specified machine.
The new multi-functional devices can copy and print at faster speeds, increasing each machine's capacity and capability and improving efficiency. The introduction of "Follow Me" printing means that users no longer have to queue at a specific device to retrieve prints, which should reduce queuing.
The number of machines provided in each LLC was determined through careful analysis of user requirements, previous volumes per year and benchmarking data. Although there are fewer machines in some LLCs, the new, faster MFDs should provide a better service overall.
The Library is monitoring use and access throughout the year and will pay specific attention to the operation of the new service during busy hand in periods. We will undertake a review of provision at the end of the year, taking particular account of student feedback.
Why did it take so long to get my ID card?
New "SMART" ID cards were introduced to operate the new equipment. The cards can be used for multiple purposes and support the University's overall plans to improve security and enhance current processes, e.g. the introduction of self-issue using radio frequency ID technology for borrowing books and other learning resources, bringing UCA in line with larger Universities.
The University normally provides cards for new students at the beginning of the academic year. The introduction of SMART cards required new cards to be produced for all our students, both new and returning. To facilitate this larger scale project, card production was out-sourced to a national provider of Higher Education ID Cards.
Cards were available for the majority of returning students at the start of term but we encountered significant problems with processing the enrolment data and images for new students and this caused substantial delays in the production of the cards.
The process has been reviewed and refined and we are confident that students in 2010 will not experience the same problems. In addition, as cards will only be required for new students, the volume of work associated with processing cards will be reduced significantly ensuring a faster turnaround.
We appreciate the frustration students experienced at the delays in receiving their cards. The long term benefit will be having one SMART card for multiple purposes, including security, Library and print and copy functions.
Why are student dates of birth no longer on student cards?
This is a security measure to help prevent identity fraud and was discussed and agreed with the Student Union.
How have we communicated information about the new Print and Copy service to students and staff?
Information about the new service has been communicated in a variety of ways, including e-mail, the Library web pages, myUCA and the IT Help pages on the portal. Academic staff have received regular updates on the new service, particularly when it was subject to substantial problems at the start of the academic year, and LLC staff have provided information locally. The University Librarian and a consultant from Wyse attended the Student Forum at Farnham at the end of the 2008-09 academic year to discuss particular concerns about the planned closure of the Reprographics Unit at Farnham and information about the benefits of the new system for students was distributed to student representatives and the SU at this time.
Recent conversations with the Student Welfare officer suggest that further work needs to be done to ensure that students are using the communication channels available to them; that information is made available in a timely and accessible way; and that the University continues to focus on enhancing its systems and procedures for communication with students.
Ensuring students have a good experience at UCA is a priority for the University and was a key objective of this project. With a stable platform and ID cards for all, we are confident that
the new integrated printing and copying solution will provide a flexible and versatile service that meets the increasingly complex needs of UCA's students.
Are there any guides available on using the new Print and Copy stations?
Guides have been produced by the LLS IT Technicians and published on the IT Help Section of the staff and student portals. Copies of the guides are available form the LLCs. We are continuing to review and update the guides to make them as useful as possible and student feedback is always welcome. LLC staff are always happy to advise students on using the new facilities.
Does the University provide different coloured paper for disabled students?
The University provide students with A4 yellow paper that can be used with the Print and Copy Stations. A4 yellow paper is available from campus library's. Please as the LLC ICT Advisor for more information.
Can I get a refund on my print credits at the end of the year?
We do not refund any unused print credit. Therefore please manage your account carefully, especially towards the end of your studies.