In an email sent out to students last Friday, Assistant Director for Student Technology Services Micheal Malsed announced the implementation of the new Student Printing Portal. The Portal offers two different ways for students to remotely send documents to the computer lab printers.

Upon logging into the portal, you are presented with four tabs labeled, “My Print Job,” “Web Print,” “Drive Print,” and “My Printers”:

  1. The “My Print Job” tab allows you to see the current status of documents you have sent to the printer.
  2. The “Web Print” tab allows you to upload a document to this portal, much like you would to your Sakai dropbox, and submit it to be printed either in Poppa, Ryal, or South lab.
  3. The option suggested by Malsed is the “Drive Print” option, which allows you to install individual printers on your own computer. The webpage gives thorough instructions on how to install the printers onto any type of computer, but you will need to repeat the process again for each printer you wish to install.
  4. The “My Printers” tab gives you the option to give nicknames to printers you usually use, such as “Printer in blue building,” as suggested on the site.

According to Malsed, printing from CMC dorms has been available only via a wired connection since August. The new system allows for remote printing through both wired and wireless options. The introduction of the Student Printing Portal came after students voiced an interest in this capability. Malsed took this feedback and researched the most effective tool to give students this option.

“There are only so many solutions out there, and due to technical issues this was the best choice. It integrates seamlessly into our existing printing infrastructure, which was necessary,” Malsed said. While the system was tweaked and altered to fit CMC’s needs, it is a commercial product that is used by numerous colleges worldwide.

Malsed closed the introductory email with this reminder: “And, as always, please remember to pick up your print jobs!!!” This reminder brings up a valid concern regarding remote printing. If students can print documents from their rooms without having to log into a computer in the lab, there is a chance they will continually print documents and forget to pick them up from the printers. Malsed, however, believes that the rate of unclaimed print jobs “should be about the same as last year when printing was unavailable via both wireless and wired. We will continue tracking those students, and abusers will be contacted, as normal.”

The impact of the new portal on unclaimed print jobs will be up for evaluation in the future, but for now, students seem to have an optimistic outlook on the new capability.

“I think it will be a nice option to have around midterm season when the computer labs fill up and are busy,” said Cameron Ridley ’15. While this option may fix the issue of lab computer availability when all students need to do is print, we likely won’t start seeing the effects of the new portal for a while, until many students install printers on their computers and adopt the habit of printing documents remotely.