We’re going to do things a little backwards here. Rather than sharing the most common questions we get from customers, we’re going to share the most common answer.
That’s right, tags. We say it over and over again because tags are probably the most powerful, yet most underutilized tool in LabStats.
LabStats software comes with a ton of ready-to-use reports, but you can also create custom reports to answer a wide range of questions. The majority of questions can be answered by setting up tags (quick and easy identifiers) in LabStats so that the reports you pull highlight the information that’s most important to you.
Before we dive into the questions, it’s important to know that you can set up tags in 3 categories: stations, applications and users. Station tags may include things like manufacturer, model, or initial install year. Application tags help identify software packages or types of licenses. User tags highlight groups of users such as faculty, student grade level, or accessibility needs.
The following is a list of common questions that you can answer with tags.
Questions about Stations
- Which OS, Mac vs. PC is being used more?
- Do stations with accessible software get used for other purposes?
- Can we get rid of old computers?
- Are the new stand up kiosks getting used?
- Are there enough wheelchair accessible stations on campus?
- Which computers needs to be replaced first?
- Do I have enough computers in my computer labs?
- Do I have too many computers in my labs?
- How many laptops vs. desktops are on campus?
- How long has a computer been turned on for?
- How many computers go unused every day?
- Which computers need updates?
- Do we need additional computer labs?
- Can we close computer labs without sacrificing service levels?
- Should we adjust our open lab hours?
- Should we adjust our lab staffing hours?
- Are resources and student usage mismatched? (Do students even know where our best computers are?)
- What are the busy times in certain labs?
- What are the busiest times during the semester? (Registration, Finals)
- Does our refresh cycle make sense based on our usage?
- Can we change our current lab schedules to offer more classes or more open lab time?
- Which locations in a lab are used more? (close to the door, back of the lab, middle of the lab)
- How do I track usage of accessibility resources? (OCR readers, magnifiers, different input devices, cubicle/open table)
- Do students have a preference when it comes to thin client vs. desktop?
- Are staff using the provided laptops or desktops, or bringing their own computers?
Questions about Applications
- How many software licenses do I really need?
- Should we get a site license or seat licenses?
- Which machines do students use to launch a particular application?
- Which applications go unused all semester?
- Do students open applications, and then not use them?
- When do students use certain applications most?
- Is the citation software that the university invested in being used?
- Where can we save image space?
- What is the launch vs. focus time of applications?
- How often are instructors using online applications for study guides or online quizzes and projects?
- Would instructors like to see the level of usage for resources they recommend in class? (They can submit a url and get a report of how many times it was accessed on campus.)
- Are application usage patterns based on semester cycle? (Is Microsoft Office used more at the end of the semester while Youtube is used more in the middle of the semester?)
- Are school computers used for nonessential web applications like Youtube and Facebook?
- Are students using free web apps for the same purpose as paid applications? (ie: using GIMP when we’re paying for Photoshop)
- Are students using the software that the professors requested?
- We have 8 applications that do the same thing, are all 8 being used?
- Where are specialty applications installed?
- How can we use application tracking to streamline our support time?
Questions about Users
When identifying users, it is important to know that LabStats does not track any personal or private information about the user, it only tracks login name. There is an option to obfuscate user identity further by replacing login name with an anonymized username.
- Do Freshman use computer labs more than Seniors?
- Are professors using the software they requested during class?
- How are students with disabilities using accessible hardware and software?
- Are students without disabilities using accessible computers, blocking access for those who need it most?
- How are ESL, Architecture or Spanish Speaking students using technology on campus?
- Who uses the most expensive software programs?
- How long do students generally stay on a computer for?
- How often do students use computers on campus?
- Who is using computers for testing purposes? How many of them are students with disabilities?
- Are past software requests justified by use?
- How are student athletes using resources?
- How are scholarship students using resources?
- How do you separate usage of public access (shared) login use vs student (SSO) access?
- How much crossover is there for students to use computer labs in a department other than the one where they study? (i.e. sciences students using a lab in the business building)
- How many students from a specific demographic do you have that have never logged onto the system?
What questions do you have about your university computer labs? If you’ve never tried LabStats and want to see how it works, schedule a walkthrough. If you already have LabStats and would like to see how you can set up tags to answer your computer lab questions, schedule a tutorial.