Printing kiosks across campus face challenges, troubleshooting

By Cecilia Cress
News Co-Editor

Since the installation of the library printing kiosks in the Clifton Miller Library, Sophie’s Cafe, and Hodson Hall during the spring 2020 semester, students have many new options to print both text and pictures from their own devices or through a USB flash drive. 

“Students can print from anywhere on campus, using any internet connected device,” Chief Academic Technology Officer Sharon Sledge said. 

 According to an INK printing flyer present at Miller Library, students can either use the individual kiosk prompts to print, or they can upload any document remotely from their personal Internet-connected devices and send it to the kiosk to be printed.

 To use the kiosk, “log in by swiping your Washington College ID card, or entering your WC credentials. Select print, then click on the cloud service — e.g., Google Drive — from which you would like to print,” according to the flyer.

To use a USB flash drive, “select print, then insert your flash drive into the USB port located to the left of the scanner.” A USB flash drive can be used even if the student does not have access to the internet.

When printing from a personal device, “visit and log in by entering your WC credentials. Select the print icon to create a print queue. Drag and drop files into your queue. Click on those files to adjust printing options,” according to the flyer. Your items will be ready to print upon logging in to any printing kiosk on campus.

Since the overhaul of the printing system in spring 2020, there have been a few problems with individual student accounts that are being addressed by the Miller Library team.

“I know some students have had some problems with logging in, and we’ve been trying to address those issues as quickly as possible,” Sledge said.

According to Sledge, at the beginning of each year, all students receive a $10 printing credit that they can use. 

“As far as I know, we have two outstanding problems… One student, they just verified with us yesterday afternoon that they never got the print credit,” Dean of Library and Academic Technology Dr. Mary Alice Ball said. “We do an initial load of patron records that we send off to INK at the beginning of the semester. So we don’t know whether [the student] wasn’t on that or what else happened, but we’re going to get that fixed.”

If a student uses their $10 print credit, they can add more money to their INK account by selecting “add credit in the menu bar” after logging on. From there, they can connect a personal credit card, according to the flyer.

According to Dr. Ball, a student once wished to print a file and “the printer choked and spewed out a ream of paper with just random characters on it” until they unplugged the machine. 

“Everything else, other files are printing fine, and that student can print other things. It was just that one file,” Dr. Ball said. 

The new system was installed shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Sledge says is part of the reason for the few problems they are still having.

“Unfortunately, when we put the system in, shortly afterward the pandemic hit, so we never really got to work out all the kinks,” Sledge said. “So it’s like starting over again…it’s been a year and a half, now it’s like we’re all trying to remember.”

While there are a few issues with the new system, Dr. Ball and Sledge believe it is still superior to the previous WC printing system, where students could only print from the computers present in Miller Library during open hours.

“The printing system we used to have was one all the students hated…You couldn’t scan, fax, print photos, or anything,” Dr. Ball said. “The lines would be much longer, because people would be lining up to make the print request.” 

 With the addition of the two additional kiosks in Hodson Hall and Sophie’s Cafe, which is open 24 hours, students can now print at any time of day that they need to. 

“Our hope is that [the new system] gives students a good experience,” Sledge said. “The old system, students were very upset about it. And though it’s been a little wonky getting started, I think once things settle down it will really be a good solution for students.”

Photo by Kayla Thornton

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