Friday, March 23

Twenty years in, CLICC still evolves to match students’ technology needs

When Lisa Kemp Jones helped found one of UCLA’s larger computer labs in 1996, she did not imagine it would later house 3-D printers or laser etching.

“CLICC provided not only access to hardware and software, but also provided support for services and spaces conducive to learning in the UCLA Library,” Jones said. “These are the foundations of CLICC, and those haven’t changed.”

Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons, founded as a computing collaboration among different campus departments, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. The service, for students and run by students, has expanded from operating solely as a computer lab into loaning projectors, laptops, powerbanks and 3-D printing, said Rachel Cohen, a CLICC instructional consultant and fourth-year political science student.

While some computer labs are only available to certain students, the lab in Powell Library is open to all students regardless of major, Jones said.

[Related: UCLA students without computers flock to CLICC Lab]

Jones added she thinks the biggest success for CLICC is the laptop lending program, which was created because more students needed access to computing than CLICC could provide in one place.

“We experimented with the idea of checking out laptops with the same software in order to let students take them wherever they were needed,” Jones said. “We didn’t realize how successful the lending program would become, and that the few laptops we started with in the early years would turn into the hundreds that we lend now.”

Cohen said many of CLICC’s service expansions, like laptop or cellphone charger lending, resulted from student user and staff suggestions.

Cohen said CLICC loaned out laptops more than 109,000 times between Sept. 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, making it one of the most-used services on campus and the largest free laptop lending service at any university. She added the program has about 500 laptops across seven libraries, with the majority housed at Powell and Young Research Library.

Jackie Kiikvee, an instructional resource management assistant and UCLA alumna, said she started working for CLICC as a fourth-year theater student.

Kiikvee said that as CLICC upgraded its computer technology, classroom equipment also became more sophisticated. Some classrooms have cameras that can broadcast live internationally or host Skype sessions, as well as interactive touch screen whiteboards.

Kiikvee added she thinks the biggest change she has noticed since she started working is that, with higher undergraduate enrollment, more students are using CLICC.

CLICC study room reservations topped 16,000 between January and June, she said.

“It really shows how integral CLICC is to campus,” Kiikvee added.

Evan Manzanetti, library computing systems coordinator and a UCLA alumnus, said since he started working at CLICC as a third-year English student, he has seen CLICC upgrade and expand its laptop fleet twice and introduce 3-D printing, among other changes.

“There’s very little CLICC stops doing; it mostly expands into new services,” Manzanetti said.

[RELATED: Young Research Library 3-D printer accepts student, faculty proposals]

In addition to technology upgrades, CLICC began offering services at more library locations, Manzanetti said.

“We want to provide more access because we know how many people use our services,” he said. “You can use any computer at any location, and it will work the same.”

All laptops and computers run the same versions of Windows and macOS, with over 200 different programs that classes may require. Students can also access online browser versions of the software on the CLICC website, Manzanetti said.

Suk Jin Song, a third-year biology student, said he uses CLICC’s projector lending program on a regular basis.

“It’s hard to rent projectors cheaply, and they are pretty costly too,” Song said. “To have a source that lends you projectors for free is very useful.”

Song added he had some trouble borrowing a projector last fall, but he appreciates that CLICC implemented a new online reservation system. Song said he originally had to email CLICC and wait for a reply, which he didn’t get after repeated emails and phone calls.

“They listened to the complaints and installed a simpler, more effective design,” Song said.

The attention CLICC gives to its users has allowed them to succeed, Jones said. Students, faculty, staff and librarians have all contributed their ideas through CLICC’s annual survey to follow trends and see how CLICC can anticipate the changing needs of students and faculty, she added.

Jones said with increased use of personal devices, she expected the need for CLICC services to decrease. However, usage of services like laptop lending grew several times over from year to year. She added in 20 years, she hopes CLICC will be able to provide all students with the tools to keep up with advances in educational technology.

“I anticipate CLICC being there to ensure student success by providing access to technology tools, whatever that might look like in 20 years,” Jones said. “Many students have access to their own technology, but many still don’t have access to computing required for their courses. CLICC will be there for them as well.”

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