The issue of Free Printing in our university has long be a hot topic on campus. Afterall, we pay our fees to be educated only to come into university to find that we have to pay more to complete the assignments that are given to us throughout our degree.
Due to a technical issue in the printing system that allowed students free printing, the University found that the volume of printing increased drastically, up to 1.2 million papers during this incident.
There is also the psychology of something that is scarce. When the incident occurred, the feeling of scarcity made people use more printing than what is actually needed. Yet in Schools where free printing is allowed, such as in Computer Science, they find no such behavior. Computer Science students talk about it as a normal thing, not rare or precious and thus do not abuse the system.
There are some common sense solutions to alleviate the University’s fears and still resolve the fundamental concerns us students face.
Firstly, a system of printing credits, approved and given by lecturers and supervisors, would enable sufficient degree of control by their University whilst students won’t have to shell out more money just to progress in their studies.
The longer term and better solution is this: The encouragement of e-assessment. Not only does it do away with much of the cost of printing in the first place, but it is also much better for our environment. The University is looking to become more green and this can fall in the heart of their green efforts.
The vast majority of us, students and staff, do most of our work on computers anyway. So why do we need to submit in printed form unless it is absolutely required?
These solutions are clear, easy, economical, green and they create a win:win for all. We just need the right person to push for the process and culture change.
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