Fan Favorite Feature: Tags
If there was a fan-favorite feature in LabStats, it would be tags.
Tags allow you to customize LabStats to fit your environment and highlight what matters most to you. With tags, you can narrow search results, get more detailed reports and track just about anything.
A “tag” is a simple way to identify an item or group of items in LabStats. This allows you to organize data and highlight specific items in reports. You can assign tags to stations, applications and users (with an option to anonymize identity).
For instance, say a school has 40 wheelchair accessible stations that are spread across 10 computer labs on campus. The Office of Accessibility is requesting five additional wheelchair accessible stations. The lab manager needs to verify if additional stations are really needed, and if so, determine where they should be installed.
With tags a lab manager could label the existing wheelchair accessible stations to distinguish them from non-accessible stations for the purpose of usage tracking and data organization. By tagging current wheelchair accessible stations with “Accessible” (or any chosen word) the lab manager can see usage data for this group of computers, regardless of whether they’re located in the same physical space or scattered across campus. He can see the overall percent of use, busiest and least busy times, and labs that include accessible stations. With this data in hand, the lab manager can strategically install additional stations, or recommend that resources be used for other needs.
Station tags allow you to identify computers with similar traits. Rather than sorting through usage data for all the computers on campus, you can tag a group of computers to focus reports on what matters most to you.
Examples of questions you can answer with station tags:
- Which computers need to be refreshed next?
- We have the budget for new computers, should we get desktops, laptops or standing kiosks?
- Are staff using university computers or bringing their own laptops?
- How do different colleges or departments use computer labs?
- Are accessibility resources being used more or less than we anticipated?
Ideas for station tags:
- Install timeframe (ie: year or semester depending on refresh schedule)
- Hardware type (ie: desktop, laptop, standing kiosk)
- Staff or faculty computers
- Department (ie: biology, English, etc.)
- Accessibility (ie: OCR reader, magnifier, open table, input devices)
Related: Quickstart: Tags
Chances are, you have a mix of expensive and free software, site-wide licenses and seat licenses. Focus reports on what’s most useful to your school, like identifying expensive seat license software packages so you know exactly how much to budget for in the coming year. With application tags, you can identify different aspects of software in your environment to make better budgeting decisions moving forward.
Examples of questions you can answer with application tags:
- Are we paying for more seat licenses than we actually need?
- Are we fully utilizing expensive software packages?
Ideas for application tags:
- Site license and seat license
- Software packages (Microsoft Office, Adobe CC, etc.)
Although tagging is not required to build reports, it can help narrow down results for important decision making.
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.
Tagging users can be super helpful in identifying how groups of students use resources on campus. For instance, do engineering students prefer to walk across campus to use computers in the library, or would they rather use smaller study spaces in the engineering lab? Knowing who is using technology on campus can help you plan lab expansions, know where to install new technology and optimize the resources you already have.
Examples of questions you can answer with user tags:
- Do freshman use campus resources more or less than seniors?
- Do business majors use computer labs?
- What data can we use to support a grant application?
Ideas for user tags:
- Grade level
- College or major
- Demographics for grants
You can also track user demographics to apply for grants, support funding requests or expand resources for the students in your university who need it most.
Related: How Does LabStats Protect Data
How are schools using tags?
The University of Utah uses station tags to identify computers that have scanners, 3D printers and VR equipment attached. They track how often those computers are used to ensure their investment in the additional equipment is justified.
The College of William and Mary uses application tags to track software that they hope to cut out of the following year’s budget. This “cutting” tag allows them to quickly pull a report at the end of the year to see if the suspected software was actually used, and if it’s worth cutting or keeping.
Tagging is not a feature that is necessary to build reports, but it is a powerful tool that can help get you get better results and focus on what matters most to your school.