Top 5 Questions for Lab Managers

December 13, 2022 |  Data
3 min

Optimizing computer lab hours can have a positive impact on retention and funding.

It’s no small task to manage computer labs on a university campus, but usage data can help. Understanding exactly how your computer labs are being used is the key to optimizing lab space and budgets. 

Consider these five questions you can answer with LabStats data:

Which computer labs are used the most and which are used least?

Run a Usage History Report to compare large and small labs based on the percentage of use.

The Usage History report shows the percentage of computer utilization based on open lab hours. The utilization of several labs can be displayed to easily determine how much available resources are being used.

Utilization reports are based on the number of hours used divided by the available hours. With schedules, lab utilization can be calculated only from hours in which the lab is open. Labs available for twenty-four hours and labs available for three hours can have different definitions of 100% utilization.

This report can help you compare computer labs of different sizes so you can see which ones are closest to full capacity—regardless of size. 

Do computer lab hours affect usage?

Run a Peak Usage History Report across a semester to identify the busiest lab times, and compare the results with your lab schedules.

With LabStats, you can quickly and easily track the days and times students use your labs most   to more accurately decide when to schedule open lab hours. Gone are the days of guessing, now is the time for easy and accurate scheduling.

Furthermore, optimizing computer lab hours can have a positive impact on retention and funding: 

“When an institution can apply technology to optimize the student experience, it is affordably creating the necessary conditions for students to be successful. Enrollment and retention will improve, and performance-based funding will be easier to maximize.”

Educause – Top 10 IT Issues 2019
Related Video: How to Determine Ideal Lab Hours

Does the position of a computer in a room affect its usage?

Run a Login Summary by Station Report and a Usage History Report and cross-reference the highest used stations (by number of logins and session length) with a floorplan or LabMap of the space.

If you determine that a computer is highly used because of its position, consider rotating computers around the room or replacing high use computers more often. One Labstats customer shared what happened when she did just that:

“We created what we refer to as a “Hot Seat” layout, indicating the most used computers in our Student Technology Centers and kiosks. After gathering all the data, we realized that the most used computers were workhorses, so we decided to replace them periodically with an underutilized computer in the same area. This resulted in computers requiring less maintenance, having improved performance and a longer life.”

Missy Borter, Indiana University Northwest

Are some computers used more because of the software installed?

Run an Application Summary Report to see which applications are used most and least.

LabStats’ reports show which applications are being used. Compare the usage of multiple applications or application groups (application tags). Easily decide which applications get the most/least amount of use.

Use the Application Summary report to view all of the application usage for a specific group (lab). This data, in conjunction with the Application Launch History report, can help to identify software that rarely or frequently gets used.

Related: 3 Ways to Reduce Spending on Campus Software

How are underutilized computers identified?

Run a Login Summary by Station Report to identify the least used computers. See if you can find a commonality like hardware type, age, location, etc.

The Login Summary by Station report displays an aggregated list of login sessions grouped by station, station tag, or tag group. This report allows analysis of usage data for specific stations or station tags. 

Aggregated results include login count, station count, unique user count, total usage (by days, hours, or minutes), average usage (by days, hours, or minutes), first login time, and last login time. This data is stored in the data warehouse, which means it is only available up to the previous night.

Related: The Trick to Locating Underutilized Computers

To learn more about optimizing your computer labs with data, start a free trial.

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