Ample storage space often unused

By Jermaine PIgee

DeKALB | All NIU students have the ability to store 1,920 four-page papers each and may not even know it.

The storage space comes from 75 megabytes of network user volume that is included with each students’ Z-ID. For student mail, 25 MB is assigned, and 50 MB is provided for other uses. Students can use the 50 MB to build a Web site or store other files. The student’s user volume is stored in his or her H:\ drive in student computer labs.

Some students create Web sites as part of a project for their English 103, 104 or 105 course.

“In first year composition courses, students do a variety of projects that involve these Web sites,” said Eric Hoffman, coordinator of Northern’s Networked Writing and Research program. “The vast majority of students create e-portfolios, which is a way for them to create and showcase their work, as well as reflect their growth as writers.”

These electronic portfolios may include draft and revised copies of student essays for the English classes. Students may also create a “webography,” an online annotated bibliography, said associate English professor Michael Day.

Students can also make Web sites for personal use. In order to use the Web space to build Web sites, students are encouraged to use the Mozilla Composer tool in the Information Technology Services computer labs, said Elizabeth Leake, associate director of ITS. The Mozilla Composer tool can be downloaded for free from the Mozilla site if students want to build a Web site from home.

However, there are some restrictions placed on the provided Web space.

“Because the Internet is a public space, we are legally obligated to exercise caution when dealing with personal information of any kind,” Leake said. “Never should the space be used to publish content that others could find offensive.”

Leake also says that before students use their Web space, they should read and understand the policies associated with using technology resources at NIU.

“Once students read and understand these policies, common sense should prevail when choosing content to publish on the Internet,” she said.

Because student technology fees cover the cost of all technology on NIU, it is free to use the Web space on the Internet as long as the student is an NIU student. However, the Web space provided to students does not last forever.

“The student network space eventually goes away,” Hoffman said. “I know that their access to the [Web space] is turned off within a few weeks of graduation.”

Jermaine Pigee is a Campus Reporter for the Northern Star.