This weekend several thousand new students arrive at the University, ready to start their courses and a new life in a new city. After they've got their keys to their room, unpacked their cases, the next thing they all want to do is connect their laptops to the internet. In order to do that they have to be registered with us to use the computing service, have a user name and password, and register their laptop on the network, once we're happy that its security and antivirus software is up to date. Teams of our staff have been working this weekend, some at the IC but mainly at the student village. The student village had a real party atmosphere - for once the sun has shone all weekend, and there was a BBQ, balloons, music, helpdesk, stalls and lots of current students in bright t-shirts helping the new arrivals.
We were registering students in the dining room, using our self authentication system on the banks of sun rays we've recently installed. It was hectic! Particularly this morning, as many students didn't arrive until late yesterday (traffic in parts of Sheffield was extremely slow moving!), so the queue had built up very early on, and didn't diminish for a lot of the day. The 10 or so staff we had there worked really hard, running a workshop for students who were having trouble getting their laptops to connect as well as dealing with all the other queries. A few interesting trends - nearly everyone came in asking "is this where I get the internet?" No concept that you use a computer for anything else. I didn't speak to anyone who had a stand alone PC - all had laptops. Big increase in the number of macs students were bringing. And, lots of questions about plugging other devices into the network point - especially Xboxes. Something we need to look at.
Well done everyone who was involved this weekend, and thanks.
Tomorrow we start University registration in earnest - fingers crossed for our new on line registration system!