By Austin Metz
Editor In Chief
As you run into the lab to print off your final paper, you look and see all the computers in use.
Some students are doing homework but many are busy updating their Facebook status while Tweeting about how bored they are at school or other minor details.
This has created problems for students around campus.
“I see it all the time where students have to wait in labs for a computer because others are using those sites,” GRCC student Mike Parsell said.
“I know in the lab on the first floor of the Main building they have a list that shows the priorities of computer use starting with academic.”
Grand Rapids Community College is now taking steps to change the way some students use the public computer labs by changing the Social Networking policy in the school’s Authorized User Agreement.
“It is a college wide policy that computers are to be used for your education,” said Director of Academic and Developmental Supportive Services Yumi Watanabe.
“Since implementing this, the labs have been much quieter and are more conducive to learning which is important to us.”
The agreement, which every student has to agree to when using technology on campus, has been changed to more adequately cover the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The wording in the agreement now reads, “Technology may be used for social networking only to facilitate assigned work for Grand Rapids Community College, and for other educational, training or research purposes.”
“The idea here is that when labs are packed full and students are waiting to get on a computer to do their assignments, we wouldn’t want them to be waiting while someone is using a lab computer to update their Facebook status and play Farmville or Mafia Wars,” said Chief Information Officer Kevin O’Halla.
Although the school has made no plans to block any websites across campus, including social networking sites, O’Halla encouraged students to limit their computer use.
“We strongly recommend students to limit their personal online activity as a courtesy to other students that need to use the computer labs for academic activity,” O’Halla said.
Two computer labs on campus, the Business and Accounting Lab and the Mathematics Lab have disallowed the use of social networking all together.
“Prior to limiting this, there were students lining up to use the computers because students were using them for Facebook,” Watanabe said.
By posting signs around the lab to inform students of proper computer use, workers have seen a large decrease in the use of social networking in the lab.
The agreement, which can be found on the GRCC website, goes on to say that students should not use school computers for significant personal use, to post threatening and hostile materials or to promote a commercial product.
The agreement also is there to cover the way teachers use the computers both in the classroom and around campus.
“We do have a policy in place for faculty and staff to use the college computers and network for work related activity,” O’Halla said.
Although the school has not begun to use tools to monitor web use and has made no plans to block any of the social networking websites, O’Halla encouraged students to limit their computer use.
“We strongly recommend students to limit their personal online activity as a courtesy to other students that need to use the computer labs for.”