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IT services cut back at OUCS help centre

The university’s IT services has decided to reduce its self-service resources at the OUCS help centre on Banbury Road from the 29th November.

The services that the university has decided to close are the PCs and Macs which people can sit down and use, as well as the scanners and self service printing.

However the poster printing service will continue, as will the Help Desk and the machines used to pay for services, sort out password issues and check email accounts. The changes were announced on the OUCS website, which stated that usage of these service facilities had been declining over recent years.

Katherine Craddock, the IT service’s Help Centre Manager, told Cherwell, “We analysed a year’s worth of data to find that 440 distinct people had logged in the PCs and 110 people into the Macs. This is around one per cent of University’s computer users. Looking at people who logged in at least ten times, the numbers drop to around fifty, so more like 0.1%.

“The usage of the self-service printing has been dropping steadily over the last five years and now does not bring in enough money to cover the yearly maintenance charges. We have now reached a stage where the facility needs a major overhaul to continue and the usage patterns above strongly indicate that this type of service is no longer in demand.”

OUCS have asked for opinions on what centralised IT resources would work better to meet the university’s needs in the future.

Craddock further commented, “At the moment we are pretty open to what the University might like us to provide instead of a self-service centre. If you have any ideas we’d be very interested to hear from you. I could imagine that many students and staff might say they have their daily computing needs covered in terms of internet access, word processing and statistical analysis, but what would be really handy would be some large white-boards for discussing ideas and collaborative working. At the moment we are still gathering ideas and may be running a consultation in due course.”

Richard May, a student at Balliol College commented, “I’d say that perhaps the reason people don’t use them is because most people don’t know about them.

“It’s really useful to have computers that can be used and aren’t in a department (where they’re usually all in use). And for people who have financial / technical difficulties and don’t have a laptop or anything I feel like this is quite important.”

Another student commented, “I think it’s important to have computers available when laptops break or have difficulties. But I do feel that there’s enough computers available in colleges for people who need them.” 

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