IT department provides latest technology despite cuts
By Kelly Neill
The information technology department continues to bring new technology to Amarillo College campuses despite extensive budget cuts imposed on the institution earlier this year.
Lee Colaw, chief information officer, said AC’s IT department is a well-oiled machine and works hand-in-hand with other departments to maximize resources and get through the tough economic times. Even with less funding from the state, the department is working on developing and expanding services.
MyACcount is a new service offered this semester to provide students with a single place to access all the college’s online aids. It is only one of many efforts the department is making to keep AC campuses up to date, Colaw said.
“AC is increasing its wireless bandwidth speed 100 percent,” Colaw said. “The wireless service on the East Campus also has an entirely new infrastructure.”
He said that means students will be able to do more things such as watch videos online without waiting as long for them to load.
Wireless service is available in most spots on AC campuses, but the IT department is looking to expand its coverage to buildings that are under construction for when they are finished and to provide better service where wireless already is available, Colaw said.
“Being able to use wireless anywhere on campus is extremely convenient and is very much needed,” said Nicholas Stoddard, an AC student and lab technician.
The department also is planning a series of different recognition systems in the wireless system.
One that is being tested is the capability for students to sign into labs individually as themselves, giving them the freedom to use computers within the privacy of their own accounts.
“The students would use their ACNet ID,” Colaw said.
Another potential system is to have the wireless system recognize students as soon as they set foot on campus with a wireless device and allow them into the system automatically.
AC students now must log into the network, select the option to use their ACNet ID and log in to use the Internet.
Using the proposed recognition system, students would log in once and would be able to access the Internet without going through the same process every time.
“Some students like using their own laptops better,” Stoddard said.
In addition to efforts to improve the wireless Internet, the IT department is working on a new cost-per-copy printing system.
Students will be allowed to print a certain number of times before having to pay; then they will be able to see how much it will cost before printing.
As a measure to protect student privacy,, printers also will be equipped with motion sensors to keep them from completing a job until someone is standing nearby to pick up the paper.
Originally published: Thursday, September 15, 2011