Open Student Computer Labs

    No. 2-12      Rev.     Date: 12-14-99



Weber State University maintains open and discipline-specific computer labs. Open labs are funded with student fee monies and are managed by Academic Computing and Learning Support. They are open to all students and all departments. Discipline specific labs are managed by departments and colleges and do not receive student fee monies. A list of all open computer labs is available at the Computing Support web site.   Academic Computing is responsible for the maintenance of computers, printers, servers and network connections within the labs and installs and debugs software. Learning Support maintains facilities, provides printing and other expendable supplies and provides on-site lab personnel, including staff coordinators and student aides. The two departments work together in the education of staff, in the development of new services and in the general execution of lab policy.   Open lab policy is set by the Faculty Senate through the Academic Resources and Computing Committee.  

II. Purpose  

A. For Faculty. Open labs provide an environment in which faculty can offer computer programs, lessons or experiences necessary or valuable to Weber State educational programs. Faculty from all disciplines are welcome and many approaches to learning, from individual student exploration to instructor led groups, can be supported.  

B. For Students. Open labs support academic development and learning by providing an environment in which students can

1. Use computer tools, such as word processors, to accomplish class projects;

2. Learn to use computer programs both general value, such as spreadsheets, and of value to particular academic fields, such as statistics packages;

3. Use information technology, such as electronic mail and Internet browsers, to learn about the world and to communicate with others;

4. Learn independently about computers and information technology;

5. Enhance computer and information literacy.


A. Access. All labs are available to all members of the Weber State community. Curricular work has priority over other uses. Students engaging in scheduled curricular work have priority over other students. Students have priority over staff and faculty. All lab usage must conform to state and federal law, general University policy and lab rules.  

B. Generality of Service. As much as technically and legally possible all labs will provide all services, so that any student can work in any lab.  

C. Scheduling. Part or all of lab can be scheduled for the exclusive use of a class or a group of students working on class related projects under constraints established for each particular lab. Reservations must be made in advance with lab personnel.  

D. Open hours. Labs will remain open during periods of reasonable student demand, including nights, weekends and holidays as necessary.  

E. Closed hours. Faculty and contract staff employees, with the approval of the Director of Learning Support or Academic computing, may use a lab during regularly closed hours. Academic Computing or Learning Support personnel must be informed of all such off-hour usage. The person using the lab during such periods has complete responsibility for the security and safety of all lab hardware and software.   No student may use a lab during a closed period, except under the direct supervision of a faculty or staff member with approval from the Director of Academic Computing or the Director of Learning Support. Lab personnel must be informed of all such off-hour usage. The faculty or staff person is responsible for that student, and for the security and safety of all lab hardware and software while that student is in the lab.  

F. Staffing. As much as is practicable, labs will be staffed during all open hours by employees who can start and stop all hardware and can initiate and terminate all application software maintained by the lab. These employees are expected to teach lab patrons how to carry out routine operations with the hardware and software and to help patrons when unusual problems arise.  

G. Staff education. Lab personnel will be taught how to perform their basic functions of system maintenance, patron support and general management. They will be informed of new services and procedures regularly.  

H. Printing Service. A moderate amount of printed output related to curricular work will be available in the labs free of charge. Users will be expected to show restraint, requesting no more printing then necessary, so that this service remains economically feasible. Lab personnel may establish printing schedules or limit printing as necessary to maximize printing service for all lab patrons.  

I. Equipment maintenance. Computers and peripherals will be maintained in good working order.  

J. New equipment acquisition. No regular acquisition of equipment is budgeted. Lab personnel will assist outside departments in specifying and selecting new equipment and in preparing requests for funding equipment acquisitions. Academic Computing will install all new equipment. All new hardware must be approved by Academic Computing before it can be installed in the labs.  

K. Software maintenance. Software requested by faculty will be maintained in working order on as many computers as is technically possible, within license constraints. A periodic review will be made of software holdings and applications which are out of date will be removed, with faculty approval.  

L. New software acquisition. An academic department or individual faculty member may request the installation and support of new software by providing to Academic Computing staff:

A.   A legally usable copy of the software;

B. A written description of the copyright status of the software, including any copy restriction, and the number of users who can simultaneously access the software;

C. A brief description of intended usage; and

D. All necessary technical and user documentation;

When installation of new software is requested, Academic Computing personnel will assess its impact on disk space, printer capacity, workstation time, and other lab facilities. If the expected impact is not deleterious, the software will be made available to users in a timely fashion. If it is deleterious Academic Computing staff will consult with interested faculty and users before a determination is made to proceed with the installation.  

M. Educating patrons. Education and assistance in the use of software outside the basic core (word processor, electronic mail and web browser) is provided by faculty or personnel provided by academic departments. Lab personnel are not software tutors.  

N. Scheduling system changes. Whenever possible, upgrades and enhancements of lab hardware and software will be scheduled between terms or at other times when they will cause the least disruption of service. Users will be given prior notice as early as possible before any planned service outages or changes in service.  

O. Policy for Distribution of Surplus Equipment from Open Computing Labs  

After ARCC has made final allocation decisions (approximately April 15th) the campus will be notified by Academic Computing if surplus equipment from open student labs is available.   A list of this equipment will accompany the notice. Requests will be collected for two weeks after notification. These requests will be categorized into three groups:

1.) computers that will be used primarily by students for academic work

2.) computers that will be used primarily by students for other University activities

3.) computers for faculty and staff.  

Requests from group 1 will be randomly selected until all equipment has been distributed. If the equipment outnumbers the requests from group , the random selection will continue with group

2 and, if necessary, with group 3.  

IV. Rules for Lab Patrons   Users of the lab must conform to all applicable state and federal laws. They must conform to Weber State University policy, and they must obey specific rules of the open labs.  

A. Laws. Lab personnel are neither lawyers nor policemen. If they feel that illegal activity may be occurring they notify their supervisor, or, in an emergency, campus security.  

B. General University Policies. Several sections of the University Policy and Procedure Manual govern lab operation. These are listed below.

1. Computing Services PPM 2-11 2. Personal Computers PPM 2-13 3. Discrimination and Harassment PPM 3-32 4. Student Code PPM 6-22  

C. Infractions and offenses. Problems are resolved at the lowest level possible. Patrons who violate rules are asked to desist. If a patron’s work offends another, an attempt is made to separate the tow parties. Only if direct resolution fails are problems reported to authorities.