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UGA Miller Learning Center includes new technology

Friday, August 16, 2013

When students at the University of Georgia started their fall semester classes, new computers and print kiosks were available at the Miller Learning Center.

During the summer, Enterprise Information Technology Services (EITS) replaced a total of 375 computers at the Miller Learning Center with new computers that feature thin clients for faster processing and login times in a virtualized environment. The effort marks the first time in five years that computers in the Miller Learning Center have been replaced on a large scale.

“We initially piloted use of the thin clients on new computers in a portion of the Miller Learning Center during the spring semester,” said Shawn Ellis, director of client services for EITS. “Students quickly noticed the quicker login times on those machines and they became our most widely-used computers at the Miller Learning Center.”

The thin clients are attached to the rear of a monitor — thus saving space, and energy, at each computer station at the Miller Learning Center. The thin clients operate in a virtual lab environment, which allows technology staff to instantly update software and resolve issues faster.  

The virtualized environment also allows UGA to offer a new service that will be launched Aug. 21. Dubbed the vLab, the virtual lab environment will allow students to remotely access applications on computers at the Miller Learning Center “anywhere, anytime” via any device with a web browser. Additional details on the vLab will be announced later.

But, new computers aren’t the only new technology in the Miller Learning Center, which marks its 10-year anniversary this fall.

EITS also installed an additional seven print kiosks this summer at the Miller Learning Center, which now exclusively uses the cloud-based print kiosks for print jobs. The print kiosks are located in the same spots as the previous laser printers in the Miller Learning Center.

“The print kiosks continue to grow in popularity with students, who like that they can send print jobs from their laptop, computer, smartphone or tablet to be printed at one of 18 WEPA print kiosks on campus,” Ellis said.

UGA initially installed 10 WEPA print kiosks at dining halls, libraries, the Miller Learning Center and other buildings in November 2012. Black and white prints cost $0.06 each on a print kiosk and color prints are $0.50 each. The print kiosks accept Bulldog Bucks. Print jobs paid with a debit or credit card are charged a $0.50 surcharge for each transaction.

The new computers at the Miller Learning Center and print kiosks are funded by the Student Technology Fee. The Miller Learning Center is a partnership of UGA Libraries, the Center for Teaching and Learning and EITS.