LSCS Awarded For Excellence
In Laptop Repair And Service
June 19, 2008—The Law Student Computing Services (LSCS) office has received an outstanding performance award for its laptop repair services. The award was bestowed by Lenovo, formerly IBM’s Personal Computing Division, which has been a primary provider of the student laptops for several years.
Lenovo’s award is reserved only for top performers in its Self-Maintainers program—the schools and businesses that repair and maintain their own laptops. LSCS has won this quarterly award several times before, placing them in the “top 15 percent of Lenovo Self-Maintainers” for its excellent repair record, problem-identification skills and efficient use of parts, according to the award letter.
Being in the Self-Maintainers program also requires the LSCS personnel to keep their skills up to date, says BenJamin Johnson, LSCS’s Supervisor. “We have to do yearly certifications to keep our training current. We get to be very good at fixing our particular laptop models.”
Assistant Dean of Students Erin Keyes says the latest award comes as no surprise: “LSCS’s top-notch expertise helps students avoid computer-related interruptions that used to spell disaster,” she says. “I get regular feedback from students about how helpful, good-natured, and proactive our laptop experts are.”
LSCS was created when the Law School’s student laptop program began in 2004. The office formed under two important principles: The staff should be located conveniently in the Law School itself, and the resources should to be dedicated solely to the needs of our law students.
The LSCS staffers are available to solve any laptop crisis with speed. Since the Law School’s student laptop program requires students in each class year to use the same model, LSCS can keep a stock of new components, replacement parts and spare laptops, Johnson explains.
If a student walks in with a cracked screen, we can take out their hard drive, put it in a machine that’s exactly the same, and send them on their way in a few minutes, rather than having to ship it away and wait weeks,” he says. That means the students can continue to work and have uninterrupted access to a laptop—and their data—while their original laptop is being repaired.
In the history of the laptop program, LSCS has been able to fix almost every hardware problem onsite, Johnson says.
The process of maintaining laptop software applications is streamlined, too. Although LSCS sets up most of the software programs to update themselves automatically, LSCS also can send alert messages to let students know about potential software problems or security holes and how to patch them.
All U of M law students take their course exams electronically via their laptops, and LSCS oversees the complex process of installing the exam software and downloading student exams. LSCS personnel also are available on the exam floor to troubleshoot any computer issues that might occur during exams. In the nine years since the adoption of electronic exam software, LSCS has never lost an exam file.
Much of LSCS’s work begins long before the laptops arrive. Each year, the LSCS researches laptop manufacturers, negotiating for the best price on top-grade components and capabilities, Johnson says. “It’s a process that we start almost nine months beforehand – asking for bids to make sure that we get the students the best price and the best equipment bang for their buck.”
During this year’s bidding process, 10 computer companies initially were vying for this fall’s laptop contract, Johnson says. This year’s chosen vendor, Lenovo/IBM, has won the competitive contract four out of the past five years.
In addition to the on-site services of LSCS, the price of the student laptop also includes a three-year extended warranty and three years of accidental damage protection—securing a student’s usual span of years at the Law School, Johnson says. “A lot of people don’t realize that the warranty is part of it, but the first time they crack a screen or spill a drink, they’ll realize they just saved hundreds of dollars.”
The LSCS office, located on the second floor of the Law Library, offers generous hours: “During the school year, we’re open 12 hours a day,” Johnson says. “That’s a big benefit for students who work or aren’t available during the 8 a.m.-5 p.m. stretch.”
The Lenovo performance award is another reminder that students can boot up their laptops with confidence this fall, knowing an outstanding repair team will be there for them if trouble strikes. “It gives students peace of mind to have such expertise and customer service onsite,” Keyes says. “Then students can focus on their learning, not on technical glitches.”
For more information about the student laptop program, click here.