Computers widely available for computer-less students
April 1, 2009 8:29 PM
Students without computer access may find it difficult to succeed at SF State. Teachers communicate mostly through e-mail and research materials, as well as conducting whole classes on the Internet.
Sierra Wallsmith doesn't own a computer because of the cost and uses the HSS computer lab almost every weekday. All of her psychology classes are on iLearn, an online forum used by many SF State professors. She recently transferred from UC Santa Barbara and has been satisfied with SF State's services.
"I think it works better for me," the psychology major said. "I can always get a computer and here there are no distractions."
The campus currently has 354 computers available to all students. The machines are spread throughout the campus and are either run by the library or major departments, such as the business lab. Many departments also have their own facilities available exclusively to their program's students.
"There is pretty adequate access for all types of students," said Thereau Lovell, head of information technology on campus. "We try to accommodate those who don't have this access at home."
Lovell is in charge of the Library Annex's resources. He says the school is gradually progressing its technology, something the library construction will help significantly.
"Each major has special software needs which the school is accumulating more and more," he said. "The construction of the library will increase the number of computers with these software."
Computers are available at all hours in the Library Annex I, located by the police station at the northwest edge of campus. On a typical late night at the building, almost half of the computers are unoccupied. The location seems to be the one complaint constantly heard about the school's all-night access.
"There's always a way I can get a computer at any time," said Melanie Verchere, a junior marketing major who has been relying on school facilities since her computer broke last month.
Students also have the option of checking out laptops from HSS 127 to use for up to four hours. Only a handful of the service's 60 laptops are usually borrowed everyday.
"I have never had an issue with (the laptops)," said political science graduate student Cynthia Bautista. "I use them two or three times a week and the four hours is always enough time."
Besides schoolwork, students also use the campus' computers for entertainment. On screens in every lab there are people on social network sites, blogging, watching videos and even entire episodes of television shows.
"People do everything on these computers that is non-academic," said Jeff O'Toole, a lab coordinator in the Business building.
Whatever they use them for, SF State students can rest assured that the campus will continue to have many places with access to the vital machines that are so necessary for a university education.
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