September 3, 2019 | Students

How Indiana University Northwest Uses LabStats

Better services for commuters, preventative maintenance that actually works, and savings to the tune of 55k are just some of the benefits that Indiana University Northwest experienced after adopting LabStats.

4 min

Missy Borter and her team of technicians in the University Information Technology Services (UITS) department shared their experiences with us.

Life Before LabStatss

Tracking usage of Student Technology Centers has changed dramatically since UITS adopted LabStats. Previously, student workers kept a tally sheet, marking each person that entered and exited the lab on the hour. The tally sheet was the only source of utilization tracking, and left UITS with questions about departmental specialty labs and software usage.

“In just a few days after installing LabStats, we were able to have all our questions answered and explore new possibilities with LabStats data.”

And the team did just that. They started tracking all student-facing computers and seeking out ways to optimize for ease of maintenance, improved student experience, and overall budget.

Catering to Commuters

UITS was able to see where and how students were using technology by tracking hardware usage with LabStats. They noticed that students on the commuter campus averaged 2 minute sessions on kiosk computers, but that those kiosks saw over 200 logins a day. They combined LabStats reports (Login History, Average Usage History by Week, Application Launch History) with reports from printers in the same space to conclude that commuting students just wanted to stop by and print materials needed for class. 

After collecting usage data for a year, UITS determined they could reduce computers in departmental areas and Student Technology Centers and put money back into resources the students actually wanted. They created Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) stations for commuter students and added mobile charging stations around campus.

“After our success with reducing computer costs and creating BYOD areas, we are now installing LabStats on any computer a student utilizes, including classroom lectern computers. It is our job to create a successful environment and be good stewards to our students through technology, with LabStats we can make this possible.” -MB

UITS also identified peak and vacant times in the Student Technology Center with LabStats reports. UITS used the data to inform staffing schedules, placing more staff on hand during busy times, and discussed closing the less used areas to make room for departmental special events like placement testing or new student orientation.

They were surprised to find that students utilized less software than expected. The usage was focused on Microsoft Office and Google Chrome, as most student work is turned in electronically. The local and web application usage data is helping UITS plan for the future of online learning and driving technology plans moving forward.

Winning at Preventative Maintenance

“Hot Seat”

By tracking computer usage, UITS discovered that certain computers in their Student Technology Centers were getting used much more than others, requiring more maintenance over time. To combat this, UITS created a layout that identified the most used computers as “Hot Seats.” Then they replaced the Hot Seat computer periodically with an underutilized computer in the same area. Simply identifying and rotating computers has reduced maintenance, improved performance and given the workhorse computers a longer life.

Power Outages

Every morning UITS technicians check LabStats to ensure all computers are checking in properly. With this process, they were able to discover and resolve power outages in classrooms before the classes started. Now the technicians don’t have to interrupt a class just to plug in a computer or perform other similarly simple fixes.

Lasting Impact

Departments: Understanding Specialty Labs & Software

UITS funds classroom labs for departments that require specialty software and equipment, including Geo Science, Fine Arts and Testing. Before LabStats, no one knew if these labs were utilized and to what capacity. LabStats allowed UITS to see exactly how the specialty equipment and software were being used. They were able to bring the data to each department to discuss how to better utilize each space and help inform future purchasing decisions.

Budget: Crazy Savings

UITS used the Login History report to see how often each computer in the Student Technology Centers was logged in to over the course of an academic year. They realized that many computers were used less than 10 times a week. With this data, they decided to eliminate 55% of computers in the Student Technology Centers, saving over $55,000 without sacrificing service levels. 

“Without LabStats data, this project would not have been possible.” -MB

Sample Login History Report

Leadership: Leadership and Data 

UITS shared LabStats data with senior leadership, department heads and the office of the Registrar. They made recommendations backed by data, and worked together to determine if department classrooms should be added, or if software should be purchased or removed. They also provided the Registrar with more robust reports for each technology-enhanced classroom. This increased communication was made possible by LabStats’ easy-to-share reports.

Thankfully the days of tally sheets are gone, and with LabStats the team is now seeing big savings and a better experience for students at Indiana University Northwest.