PaperCut helps to reduce student printing usage

Reduction in student printing can be attributed to the PaperCut system.

19-7-papercutDaniel Malgren


PaperCut, the system that manages student printing on campus, requires students to submit their usernames and passwords before it will allow them to print from the college’s printers in the computer center, student media lab and library.

Each student is allocated $10 per quarter to spend on printing whatever he or she requires. This amounts to an equivalent of 200 one-sided black-and-white prints.

PaperCut, in essence, is funded by the students; a portion of student fees is used to support technology on campus. These fees are paid when students also pay for tuition costs after registering for classes. The annual Student Technology Budget Committee determines how these fees are dispersed, based on projects proposals.

Before the enactment of PaperCut, the college suffered from overuse of the printers, resulting in an excessive waste of paper.

“The recycling bins were overflowing with documents students were not using,” said Christie Flynn, dean of library and learning resources.

In 2009, the tech budget committee voted to experiment with PaperCut in hopes that this system would cut the cost of printing so many hard-copy documents.

The system was enacted districtwide so that the tech committee members could then set a cap on the amount of free printing available to students. This, in turn, was expected to cut the number of hard-copy documents being wasted.

Since PaperCut’s ratification, the rate of wasted printed documents has diminished, Flynn said.

About 3,000-4,500 students use PaperCut, which, out of the total 10,245 enrolled, amounts to 39 percent of the students. A majority of students use less than a dollar of the printing charges each quarter and, on average, 200-300 students pay for more printing credits after exceeding the $10 limit.

While the use of the PaperCut system has dramatically decreased printing on campus, college officials have discussed whether Canvas, the school’s online program, could eliminate the need for hard-copy documents altogether.

Canvas was first introduced at Pierce in fall 2012, and, after being tested by members of the State Board of Technical Colleges, it proved to be the best choice for Pierce to replace the expiring Angel system.

Since the introduction of Canvas, 445 classes, 205 instructors and 5,861 students have used the program. This has helped Pierce cut the consumption of printed documents as 7,175 assignments have since been distributed through Canvas.

“The broader the use, the greater the potential for reducing the need for these traditional ‘hard-copy’ resources, as more and more resources and textbook publishers are moving online,” said Earl Sallade, manager of Learning Management Systems Angel and Canvas. “It is important to note LMSs are not designed to replace textbooks…online course materials are very dynamic and typically offer the instructor a means to supplement, personalize or focus course content.”

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PaperCut helps to reduce student printing usage

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