Instructional Lab Policies

Table of Contents – Instructional Lab Policy

General Lab Configuration
Lab Software Requests
Software Development & Deployment
Software Licensing Guidelines
Software Maintenance & Updates
Other Software Issues

General Lab Configuration

To protect the privacy and data integrity of all L&S users, all instructional lab computers are configured with the following standard settings:

  1. User-level rights only. Administrative access to instructional lab computers will not be granted, ensuring that users are unable to make lasting changes which may affect the experience of other L&S lab users.
  2. No data is retained. Upon log-out, all user files stored on the local computer are erased. Lab users are urged to save their files to pantherFile or OneDrive before logging off.
  3. Forced log-off timeout period. After 15 minutes of inactivity, lab computers will begin a 60-second log-out countdown to protect lab users’ documents and privacy in the event that they forget to log out. Changes to the length of this timeout period can be made to accommodate specific podia or instructional lab needs.
  4. Routine re-imaging. Regular maintenance or troubleshooting may require reloading instructional lab computers to a base state several times throughout a semester. For this reason, no software or data will be loaded onto individual computers except through network deployment tools.

Lab Software Requests

A comprehensive list of L&S Instructional Labs and Standard Lab Software can be found on our website. To request additional instructional software for an L&S-supported lab, please begin by filling out the Lab Software Request form on the UITS website.

To avoid interruptions to your instruction, please submit your Lab Software Requests with as much advance notice as possible. New software requests may take days or weeks to fulfill under certain circumstances.

The Software Development & Deployment Process

L&S clients are responsible for initiating the software request using the Lab Software Request form on the UITS website, and will also:

  • provide the L&S IT Office with any required installation media or hardware (e.g., DVDs, dongles), and
  • identify any lab-related software as potentially raising license concerns.

Within 5 business days of the software request, the L&S IT Office will:

  • approve the installation, or
  • identify necessary changes within 5 business days of the software installation and work with the L&S IT Staff to develop a revised software “package.”

Please note that requests submitted less than 48 hours before the intended use of the software may not be accommodated.

Software Licensing Guidelines

Two general categories of software are installed in L&S instructional computer labs: “base” and “instructional.”

Base software is installed by default on all L&S instructional computers. Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and VLC Media Player are examples of such “base” software applications.

Instructional software typically varies in its deployment from L&S instructional lab to instructional lab. In contrast to base software, instructional software serves a course or pedagogy-specific objective. Stata and Minitab are examples of such “instructional” software applications.

Three categories of instructional software may be installed on L&S lab computers: “demo,” “open source/freeware,” and “retail.” Installation of each type of software is subject to the following criteria:

  1. Demo software – For licensing and support reasons, the installation of “demo” software on L&S instructional lab computers is strictly limited. Demo software will only be installed on L&S instructional lab computers if:
    • the software is included with a textbook used to teach the lab-associated L&S course, and
    • the software’s license agreement explicitly provides for its installation on multiple computers.
  2. Open source / freeware software – Open source / freeware software will only be installed on L&S instructional lab computers after the UITS Software Licensing authority has determined that:
    • the software’s license agreement provides that it is free to use (i.e., genuine “freeware”), and
    • the software’s license agreement provides that it may be installed on multiple computers in a University setting.
  3. Retail software – Software packages that are neither demo nor freeware such as Adobe Creative Suite, Matlab, and WinDVD are retail software with special license terms and will only be installed on L&S instructional lab computers:
    • after the license has been verified by the both the UITS Software Licensing authority and the L&S Lab Staff as legitimately purchased, currently active, and approved for lab use.
    • in compliance with the explicit terms of the software package’s license.

Software Maintenance & Updates

Most software has a regular release schedule of updates which introduce new versions, install new features, or fix issues with earlier versions of the software. The installation of these updates is subject to the following criteria:

  1. The software must be properly licensed and approved, as outlined above. Often, new versions of software (such as an upgrade from version 5.2 to version 6.0) will require purchase of the new version of the software.
  2. To ensure the teaching environment does not functionally change, updates are generally only installed at the end of a semester unless the updates fix critical security issues.
  3. L&S clients must inform L&S IT staff about software update availability and supply the software update location.

Other Software Issues

If any other software issues arise, they shall be handled by the L&S IT Staff and the L&S client at the best of their ability. At all times, the legal licensing issues of the software must be followed, and the UITS Software Licensing authority has the final say on whether or not a piece of software may be installed in L&S instructional labs.