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Portable Computer Labs

Transform your classroom or meeting space into a temporary computer lab. Portable computer labs (PCL’s) are a great way to support specific class learning. A PCL may be reserved by University of Baltimore staff and faculty for use anywhere in the Business Center, Academic Center, Student Center, Law Center or Langsdale Library. The laptops connect to the University's wireless network and come equipped with standard software.

You can reserve a PCL via the VEMS link in MyUB's Portal Tools; for any questions regarding capability or if you are considering an unusual or complicated request, please contact the OTS Lab Manager (chudec@ubalt.edu) with any questions.

PCL General
PCL Policy
PCL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


PCL General

Currently, the PCL carts include a variety of equipment options: Lenovo T-520’s, Dell XPS Ultrabooks, HP Netbooks (ideal for small desk spaces and basic internet requirements), Dell D-630’s and Gateway tablets. Each cart typically will have 15 laptops inside and external power supplies for extended operation beyond 3 hours (if available, they are located in the top shelf, right-hand side). If you would like to discuss which cart would fit your specific need prior to reservation, contact the OTS Lab Manager (chudec@ubalt.edu / ext. 6850) to discuss your specific needs.

 

PCL Policy

  1. ELIGIBILITY: The Portable Computer Lab (PCL) may be borrowed by current University of Baltimore staff and faculty.
  2. LIABILITY: The user (user’s department) agrees to assume responsibility for the cost of repair or replacement in the event of theft, damage, negligence or misuse. The Office of Technology Services (OTS) will not assume responsibility for lost files due to viruses, hardware failure and network interruptions.
  3. AVAILABILITY: The PCL is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests should be made on-line via VEMS (Virtual EMS). All requests for use of the PCL are subject to the approval of the OTS Computer Lab Manager.
  4. USE: The PCL is loaned for on-campus use only. The PCL and its laptops are not to be taken from the designated event location. The PCL and its contents should never be left unattended. Only the number of needed laptops should be removed from the PCL cart. The remaining unused laptops should remain in the cart and the cart should be locked with the Requestor holding onto the PCL cart key(s).
  5. LOAN PERIOD: The loan period for the PCL is typically up to 1 ½ to 2 hours (most loans for classes or meetings will be for 3 hours or less). Longer durations are subject to approval by the OTS Computer Lab Manager. Extended and even multi-day requests are often accommodated; it is recommended that special cases be discussed with the OTS Computer Lab Manager before the request is made. For multi-day events, the cart and keys will be turned over to the requestor and it will be his or her responsibility to ensure the laptops are secured (locked up) when not in use and the laptops are off and charged for the next day’s usage.
  6. LENDING AGREEMENT: When accepting the keys to the PCL, you and your department become responsible for the PCL cart and its contents. Using the PCL is just like renting a car; we just want it back in the same condition as it was delivered.
  7. ADVANCE BOOKING: Requests for the PCL may be made online via the VEMS page.
  8. REPLACEMENT AND DAMAGE FINES : The requestor’s department assumes full responsibility for a lost, stolen or damaged laptop. Laptops which are missing for more than 24 hours are considered lost. Typical replacement fees for lost or stolen laptops (or components) are as follows:

    Laptop Computer (range: $300 - $1,200 depending on model)
    Power Cord and Adapter $80.00
    Any laptop equipment malfunctions should be reported immediately to the OTS Call Center at 410.837.6262.

  9. RETURNS/PICKUPS : The PCL, its contents and the keys to the PCL cart, must be returned in person to OTS staff at a pre-arranged time and location (which is always the event location). Never leave the PCL keys unattended. Users (Requestors) will be required to wait while the PCL cart and its contents are checked to ensure all equipment is intact.

  10. USER FILES (IMPORTANT!!!) : Documents or files can be saved to the laptops for use and reference while the laptop is on / running. Once the laptop is turned off, the added data files are deleted. Therefore, if one wants to retain data or files, they should be saved to your USB or network drive.

 

PCL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    • Who can borrow the PCL?

      All faculty and staff members may borrow the PCL for either meetings or the classroom environment. When you borrow the PCL, you are automatically agreeing to the PCL policies stated above. No individual may borrow the PCL with the intended purpose of allowing another person to use the PCL.

    • Where can I use the PCL?

      The PCL can only be used on the University of Baltimore Campus. OTS supports the delivery of the PCL to the following locations: BC, AC, LAP, SC, LL and LC. Removal of the PCL or any of its components in an unauthorized manner will be treated as a theft.

    • How do I borrow the PCL?

      The PCL may be borrowed by initiating a request on line at the VEMS request page. For unusual requests or extended/ after-hours requests, please contact the OTS Computer Lab Manager to discuss the details.

    • How can I tell if the PCL is available?

      The VEMS system may indicate if a PCL (cart) is available. You will receive a confirmation via email if the request has been confirmed.

    • Can I book a PCL cart in advance?

      The best way to reserve a PCL is to do so in advance. This will ensure that you have the PCL when you need it. The PCL is reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests can be made via the UB online VEMS.
      Be aware that the PCL periodically undergoes maintenance and/or often needs to be recharged. OTS ultimately will determine when the PCL is available.

    • What is the loan period?

      The typical PCL loan period is for 1 to 2 ½ hours (either a typical class session or average meeting). Longer loan durations should be discussed with the Computer Lab Manager.

    • Can my assistant or student accept delivery of the PCL?

      The staff or faculty requestor must be present for the PCL delivery. PCLs cannot be delivered to students without a professor being present.

    • Where do I return the PCL cart?

      OTS will deliver and pick up the PCL cart for you. When the cart is delivered to your meeting location and the keys are turned over to you, an OTS representative will confirm a pick-up time with you and arrive back at that time to pick up the keys and remove the PCL from the meeting space or classroom. Please wait before leaving to allow time for the OTS staff to verify that all is in good order. If some reason the OTS representative does not show up at the pre-arranged time and you are committed to leave for your next appointment, you can call 410-837-5489 or 3396 and ask for immediate pickup. If you still don't reach anyone, lock up the PCL, remove the keys and take them with you. The cart is completely secure, as long as it's locked up and the keys are removed from the doors. You can contact us on the preceding telephone numbers to arrange to meet and deliver/pick up the keys.

    • Who is responsible for theft, damage to, or loss of the PCL?

      Your department is responsible for the PCL cart, laptops and accessories. This is in accordance with the PCL Policies stated previously above.

    • Do you have any security tips for controlling the PCL when it is delivered?

      There are several suggestions available for controlling and securing the PCL. Probably the most important suggestion is to have a plan in place before the event occurs. Also critical to your plan is to have an assistant or two ("student volunteers") from your class, to provide extra "eyes" on the PCL and assist in the issuing and return of the laptops. Your plan should include a review of the following items:

        • number of attendees (have names ahead of time)
        • the location of the event
        • start/finish time
        • how to handle breaks
        • access points into/out of the room
        • number of laptops actually needed (don't put them all out if not needed)

      Always keep an eye out for individuals that do not belong in the group, class or meeting you are conducting. It is recommended that the PCL sign in/out roster be used whenever possible to assist in controlling the laptops.

      The key to success from a security standpoint is to have a plan, have an assistant(s), and to collect the laptops well before the flurry of activity that occurs when a meeting or class ends.

    • What comes with the PCL?

      A PCL will typically contain 15 laptops in a secure, locked cart. It also comes with a set of keys to unlock the cart; the cart provides a secure means of housing the laptops until they are needed. Typically the laptops will be fully charged; however, on rare occasions, they may come from a prior event which was not long enough in duration to expend the battery's charge. A fully charged laptop will generally last 3 hours with constant usage. If pre-arranged, additional power supplies (power bricks) will be supplied if an event is expected to last longer than 3 hours. The power bricks and power cords in the PCL cart on each individual shelf should not be removed (they are for permanent charging). Some carts have loose, additional power supplies available on the upper right-hand shelf.  

    • What software is available on each of the laptops?

      • Either Windows 7 (most likely) or Windows XP
      • Internet Explorer
      • Adobe Reader
      • Windows Media Player
      • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
      • Others
      • Can personal software and documents be saved on the laptop?

        Personal software and documents can only be saved on the laptop while the laptop is running. When the laptop is shut down or restarted, all user-installed software and data files are erased. Please save your documents to a USB/jump drive OR to your network drive. There is no way to recover your work once the laptop is shut down or restarted.

      • Can I access the internet from the PCL?

        The laptops all have wireless network cards and can be used by current UB students, faculty, and staff to connect to the UB wireless network. You must have a valid UB netID to access the UB wireless network. If you have problems connecting, contact the OTS Help Desk at 410-837-6262.

      • Can I print from the PCL?

        The short answer is no. Printers are not provided with the delivery of a PCL cart.

      • Can I use the PCL laptops only on battery power?

        For most of the events (those under 3 hours) which the PCL is issued, the laptops will run solely on battery power. Fully charged, the laptop will normally last 3 to 4 hours. If you have an all-day event, lasting greater than 3 hours, arrangements will need to be made for setting up power bricks, cords, etc. There are ways to conserve power on the laptops which will prolong their battery life:

        • When the laptop is not needed, power it off, OR close the screen (laptops will go to sleep)
        • At the end of the class/meeting, power off the laptop and wait until it's completely off before closing the screen
      • What if I need help?

        We expect you to be somewhat familiar with the hardware and software. The OTS Call Center is available during its posted hours to answer basic questions related to the laptops. For a more in-depth look at the details or features of the laptops, it is best for the requestor to arrange a familiarization tour ahead of time with OTS personnel. This can be done by contacting the OTS Call Center at 410.837.6262.

      • Can you say more about the wireless login?

        The PCL can be used on the UB Wireless network by any student, faculty, or staff with a valid UB account. Once the laptop finishes starting up, launch Internet Explorer. If you are in an area with wireless coverage you should be directed to the UB wireless authentication screen. From there you log in using your UB netID and password.

      • Can you say more about battery stand-by/sleep mode?

        The battery life for the laptops/pc is approximately 3 to 4 hours on a charge. The laptops are generally configured to have the screen dim after 10 minutes of no usage, turn the screen off after 20 minutes of no usage and go to 'sleep' after 30 minutes of no usage. Closing the laptop screen will also put the laptop into a sleep mode, thereby saving energy and battery consumption, allowing the laptop to last much longer.

      • What do I do at the end of the class or meeting with the PCL?

        Make sure the laptops are completely turned off. This can be accomplished by using "start/shutdown" or holding the power button for 5 seconds. If during shutdown, the screen is closed, the laptop will not be turned off, rather, it will go to 'sleep mode'. AFTER shutting down the laptop, THEN close the screen.

        For regular deliveries of a short duration, after shutting down the laptop, simply place the laptop on the correct shelf. There is no need to connect the power cords (OTS personnel will address this back in storage). OTS personnel should be there to meet and assist in the final stages of the wrap-up of the PCL cart for the event.

        For deliveries that end after OTS is closed, it is the responsibility of the requestor to make sure that the laptops are plugged in and on the correct shelves, and that the PCL cart is charging. OTS personnel will pick up the cart the next morning. In this case, the PCL keys should be locked up with the cart (via a special combination).

        For long-term deliveries, whereby the requestor retains control of the PCL cart for several days, it also is the responsibility of the requestor to make sure that the laptops are plugged in on the correct shelves and that the PCL cart is charging for their on-going event. Typically, special key arrangements will be made with the requestor to maintain control of the cart during this event.