The following guide was presented at numerous town halls conducted during the summer of 2017 by Matt Irsik at the Marriott Library for those computer lab managers interested in using the LabStats solution for gathering data about computer lab usage.
There has been a strong push on campus to collect stats in order to drive more informed decision-making. Labstats is a program that will track logins and usage statistics.
The first thing you need to do is install the LabStats software. This software runs silently in the background so users should not notice it.
The installers are stored in the admin tab of LabStats.
Log in to LabStats -> Admin -> Client Downloads
Use the appropriate installer for your OS (Windows or Mac). Sorry, there’s no Linux support. However, you can install the software on an image then deploy that image to each computer.
Create Groups to Reflect Physical Spaces.
You can create groups of stations or groups of other groups. Under the Stations tab, click “Groups.” All the top-level groups should be departments or buildings. In the root of the tree, create a group of groups.
Navigate to the building you just created, then create another group for each lab or classroom.
Migrate Systems into Appropriate Groups
Under the Stations Tab, click Station Manager. Use the search field to limit your results. It will search all the meta-data fields. Show all entries in the top right. Then check all filtered in the bottom left (double check that you only selected the right machines).
After you’ve selected relevant machines, click “Action on Selected” and click “Move to Group” and select the group that reflects that location.
Labstats automatically tracks some popular software. You can add additional software by turning on Discovery Mode on a system, then starting up the application. It is best to pull up the station with Discovery Mode turned on in the Station Manager tool, it will have an extra tool to show what software has been discovered.
Labstats primarily tracks computers by MAC address. During replacement cycles, you’ll need to make sure physical changes in the labs are reflected in Labstats. There are two components that need to happen. First, you’ll need to assign the machine to the right group. Second, you’ll need to merge the current computer (MAC address #2) with the previous computer (MAC address #1), since they are two computers but one station.
Since we had to white list all the software that is tracked, it may be a good idea to make sure you are still tracking that application when new versions of the software are installed.
Limitations and Caveats
- There aren’t great options for managing user controls. There is read-only access or full administrator. In order to make any changes, i.e., manage your systems, all users need full admin status. Labstats is currently working on more granular admin controls.
- Each instance is set up by Labstats. It is unclear if there will be multiple instances for campus.
- In absence of granular user controls, stats reported by other groups are visible to everyone.
- All of the settings are global per instance.
- Labstats controls backups of all data. They back up the entire instance.
- Merging or deleting stations are permanent actions that can’t be undone.
- Re-deploying computers can cause issues in Labstats if not processed right (if you do this, email email@example.com for the correct procedure).
- Everyone with any access to Labstats will be able to see IP, MAC address and serial numbers of any system reporting to Labstats.
- Individual departments are responsible for maintaining their Labstats information and by extension, Labstats’ accuracy.
For assistance, comments or concerns regarding the LabStats solution:
For a Getting Started Guide to the alternative data gathering solution StacksWare:
For more general questions about the Computer Lab Statistics Initiative:
For an Overview of the Computer Lab Statistics Initiative:
To Review the Data that is to be Collected & Reported: