Published January 27, 2017
Just in time for the Spring 2017 semester, 12 new iMacs are now available in the Lockwood 2nd Floor Cybrary. It’s a sign of how UBIT is starting to think different when it comes to the needs of UB students.
There are currently over 600 public computers for students on UB’s campuses…but it’s been over 20 years since any of them have been Macs.
"This is something that’s been neglected for a long time, but going forward it’s going to be much more important," said Dan Deakin, IT Customer Service Manager for UBIT.
The new iMacs are more than just a dozen new machines—they’re the beginning of a new effort by UBIT to give students more tech options on campus, based on their needs. According to the UBIT Student Experience Survey, the percentage of UB students using Macs as their primary computer has more than doubled in the last decade, up from 14% in 2007 to 31% in 2016.
"We have town halls, focus group conversations, surveys, and now a lot more students are telling us they use Macs," Deakin confirmed.
The 12 new iMacs in the Lockwood Cybrary are part of a pilot program that could see Mac devices expanding to other areas on campus. “We’re waiting to expand the program until we see what the response is from students,” said Dan Deakin.
If the Macs are popular, Deakin says more Macs might be installed in more places, and more mac-specific software titles might also be available in the future.
UB’s current Windows-heavy computing environment poses some challenges to this effort, particularly in providing a consistent experience for students, from logging in with a UBITName to accessing printing and other essential UBIT services. Then there’s offering the same programs on the Macs that are available on the Windows machines. Some software titles are only available for Windows, and vice versa.
Providing tech options for everyone, while also providing a reliable and consistent experience, is the desired end result. “What we’re trying to do is meet our students’ needs,” said Dan Deakin, “Plain and simple. I’m excited about this project, and so is our team. And we hope students will be too.”