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Computer Commons: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the general policy of the Computer Commons?
The Computer Commons is a centralized computer lab having both Dell & Macintosh computers available for student computing. This is a working lab. Students doing work have the priority.

The public is welcome so long as the resources are available. WCC's expectation is that everyone in the lab will be considerate and respectful of all others working in the lab. The Computer Commons is neither a social area nor is it a childcare area. It is a resource for students to do schoolwork.

To use the computer lab's facilities, you must be either a WCC or WTMC student or an adult. Minors (non-WTMC students) must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Bad behavior, bad language, loud noises/conversations, lack of consideration for people working, cell phone usage/excessive volume and disrespect are all unacceptable in this environment. Common sense, common courtesy and reasonable adult behavior are the expected norms in the lab. Failure to honor these norms or any of the unacceptable type actions can and will result in either being asked to leave or being referred to WCC Security.

Who is in charge of the Computer Commons?
Michael N. Lee
LRD Computer Lab Coordinator
GM 206
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
734-677-5387, or
734-973-3437
lee@wccnet.edu

What is the Acceptable Use Policy?
The "Acceptable Use Policy" is the statement made by WCC about the proper and improper use of its network and computer resources. All those who use the WCC network and or computer resources are subject to this policy even if using thier own equipment. Please read the Acceptable Use Policy here.

Can I bring my coffee/water/soda or a light snack into the Computer Commons?
No. For the safety of the computer equipment and to prevent stains and other accidents, the Computer Commons does not allow food or drink of any kind.

Can I play games in the Computer Commons?
No. We do not allow games in the Computer Commons unless it is for a class. If your instructor assigns game playing as part of a class we will allow it but you will be asked to provide your instructor's name and the class you are in. Your instructor may then be contacted to verify this. Games slow down the network and take away resources from people trying to engage in academic work.

Can my kids play games in the Computer Commons?
No. Children are treated as adults and therefore are not allowed to play games either. We have a book at the desk called "101 Websites for Kids." We will gladly allow you to borrow it while in the lab. This may help you guide your children to some fun activities that are allowed. Games slow down the network and take away resources from people trying to engage in academic work. If your child/baby is fussy or crying, you will be asked to take them out of the Computer Commons as loud, fussy or crying children or babies are extremely disturbing to those students trying to concentrate on school work.

Also do not leave children unattended leaving them in the Computer Commons. We have neither facilities nor training for child care. Also in an emergency we have no way to contact the parent or guardian.

What is the Computer Commons' definition of a game?
A game is defined as something that keeps score or has a winner. All other things are activities. Coloring for example is an activity not a game.

What kind of help do you provide in the Computer Commons?
We have lab staff on duty whenever the lab is open. They are there to help you with software errors or problems you may encounter. Please note however, that they are not LSS (Learning Support Services) type tutors or experts on every kind of software ever written. As generalists, the Commons' staff does not function as course-specific lab aides or tutors. The staff makes every effort to assist you, but will not do the work for you. This is your responsibility. If you encounter a problem that the staff is unable to solve, please refer back to your instructor (they are the final authority when it comes to your school work). You are also expected to possess the basic skills required to operate a computer BEFORE you come to the lab. If you need help with the basics or want to practice them, we can help you with this. We do not teach you how to perform basic functions rather assist you with specific problems. For basic computer usage or file management instruction, we do recommend taking the basic computer literacy course (CIS100) as one of your first classes here at WCC. For more on this see the Scope of Assistance.

Can I call the Computer Commons on the phone? Will you come out to my place and help with problem I am having at home?
We cannot do that. This is beyond the scope of the help we provide. You may feel free to ask individual staff if they do such independent consulting work, but please understand that WCC does not endorse them and you would be dealing with that individual and not the college.

Can I print in the Computer Commons?
Yes. We have three black and white laser printers and one color printer to serve you. Please be aware that printing is not free in the lab and you must purchase a Print-Copy card or use your Student ID. Print-Copy cards may be purchased in the Library, the Computer Commons, or in the SC Copy Center. Cards cost $1 and come with 50 cents printing credit on them. Student IDs have no starting monetary value and require that money be added to them. When you print a job, you will be asked for a release key. If you are using a Print-Copy Card it is the 6 numbers on the back of the card below the magnetic stripe. If you are using your Student ID, you use the last six digits of your Student Number (drop the front two zeros).

How much does printing cost in the Computer Commons?
Printing costs $.05 per page for black and white pages and $.40 per page for color copies. You must purchase a print-copy card from the machine in the lab or the machine in the library to pay for printing.

Can I just pay you instead of buying a copy card to print in the Computer Commons?
No. You must purchase a print-copy card. This requires a dollar bill (50 cents for the plastic card which comes with 50 cents of printing on it). For adding additional money, the card dispenser will take $1, $5 and $10 bills and will also take nickels, dimes and quarters. If you have any questions as to how to add money for additional printing, please ask us about it before you try it. For all change needs, we suggest that you visit the Library Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Gunder Myran building (right below the Computer Commons' main front desk) or the Cashiers office in the SC building on the 2nd floor.

Can you make change in the Computer Commons?
No. We cannot make change. For all change needs we suggest that you visit the Library Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Gunder Myran building.

Can I print in color in the Computer Commons?
Yes. The Computer Commons has a Xerox-Tektronix 8200 Color Printer. Please be aware that printing is not free in the lab. Color printing costs $.40 per page.

Can I print legal / letterhead / special paper in the Computer Commons?
Yes, but we do not officially support it. You may bring in letterhead or special paper to use but will not assist you with printing. You may consider visiting the Copy Center in the Student Center Building for help with your special printing needs.

What software is available in the Computer Commons?
Please see the list of software titles to see what we currently have available in the Computer Commons.

What hardware do you have in the Computer Commons?
We currently have a mixture of Dell and Macintosh's for a total of 200 machines. Some specialized software is loaded on machines that are termed Special Applications. Other machines (Dell or Macintosh) are used in Digital Video and are reserved primarily for those students. We also have 2 scanners attached to Dell stations. Three HP4515 laser printers provide black and white printing and are placed evenly throughout the commons. There is one color printer located close to the main (front) desk.

In addition, floppy drives, Iomega Zip drives, and removable media readers (SD, CF, etc.) are available upon request and may be checked out using a student ID.

Can I bring my class to the Computer Commons?
Yes, however, we ask that you contact us first about days and times. You are free to bring your class to the Computer Commons but be aware that availability changes throughout the day. Between 10:00am to 2:00pm, the computer commons generally is busy and space may not be available. Early in the morning, later in the afternoon, in the evening and weekends are slower times where you may have more luck finding contiguous seating. Fridays also tend to be better about seating your class in blocks. Contact Michael Lee at x5387 for additional information.

Can I access the Class Folders and/or Network Transport in the Computer Commons?
Yes. The Macintosh computers have access to the class folders and the network transport.

Can I connect to the Internet from home?
WCC no longer offers (free or otherwise) dial-up service. This service was offered through Michnet who ceased to support this as of July 1st, 2007. To connect to the Internet (with any reasonable speed) from home, pretty much requires a third party service provider (and no, they are not free). However, there is wireless connection on the main WCC campus.

Can I get help with my writing assignments?
Yes. We have a actual tutor from the Writing Center that comes in to help students with writing assignments issues and questions. They are currently here on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am-3pm (both days). The Writing Center assignments still must be turned in at the Writing Center. They are located at the table in the back of the Commons (the one with the “Tutoring” sign over it.




  1. What is the general policy of the Computer Commons?

  2. Who is in charge of the Computer Commons?

  3. What is the Acceptable Use Policy?

  4. Can I bring my coffee/water/soda or a light snack into the Computer Commons?

  5. Can I play games in the Computer Commons?

  6. Can my kids play games in the Computer Commons?

  7. What is the Computer Commons' definition of a game?

  8. What kind of help do you provide in the Computer Commons?

  9. Can I call the Computer Commons on the phone? Will you come out to my place and help with problem I am having at home?

  10. Can I print in the Computer Commons?

  11. How much does printing cost in the Computer Commons?

  12. Can I just pay you instead of buying a copy card to print in the Computer Commons?

  13. Can you make change in the Computer Commons?

  14. Can I print in color in the Computer Commons?

  15. Can I print legal / letterhead / special paper in the Computer Commons?

  16. What software is available in the Computer Commons?

  17. What hardware do you have in the Computer Commons?

  18. Can I bring my class to the Computer Commons?

  19. Can I access the Class Folders and/or Network Transport in the Computer Commons?

  20. Can I connect to the Internet from home?

  21. Can I get help with my writing assignments?

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