Media Lab Policies

Access to Facilities

Currently enrolled Five College students, faculty, and staff may use the media lab facilities with a valid ID. Visitor patrons, students on leave, or field study are not allowed access.

Access levels

  • Guest: Requires no password, but has limited access to programs and storage. Everything left on the computer is discarded when patron signs out or after 15 minutes of inactivity.
  • Level 1: Patrons have access to all programs, change certain basic settings and save their data on workstation storage drives. Patrons acquire password upon passage of Media Lab Policy/Intro Quiz on the Media Services Moodle site.
  • Level 2: Patrons are allowed access to all programs, all system settings, and can leave data on workstation storage drives. Patrons acquire password upon meeting with lab manager.

Lab Workstation Reservation

Patrons can reserve time at a workstation on the wall outside of lab manager’s office at the bottom of the stairs. Reservations are first-come, first choice. Patrons can lose their reservations if they are 30 minutes or more late to use their requested workstations. At that point, the patron can re-enter at the end of the line.

Ground Rules

Food and drink are not allowed at workstations, but can be consumed at nearby space provided, which is never near any computer. Patrons are expected to keep spaces clean and free of debris. 

Headphones, external drives (USB, Firewire, etc), cameras and recorders are to be plugged and unplugged from access ports at the front of the workstations. Never plug or unplug anything from behind the workstation or computer. The workstations are set up for and used by multiple patrons and any such adjustments can sabotage the next patron’s work. 

Patrons are not allowed to install any software onto the workstations. Please confer with the media lab manager to request any software not offered. In general, media lab will install free and open source software upon request. 

Patrons experiencing problems should fill out the Problem Report Form, located on every workstation, or contact the lab manager directly. Problems will persist until they are reported; a report is necessary so that staff can fix them.   

Regarding content for broadcast from campus (radio, tv, internet), patrons are expected to comply with Community Norms as set forth in the Student Handbook.


Data can be stored on the desktop of any workstation temporarily. Anything not stored on workstation storage drive or patron’s own drive will be erased.

External peripherals (hard drives, thumb drives, cameras, etc) are to be plugged in to the hubs provided at the front of the workstations.

If the workstation storage drives do not appear on the desktop, confirm that the power is on by using the rocker switch located on the rear of the drive.

If the storage drive unit is already on, but the drives do not appear on the desktop, turn unit off, wait 1 minute, then turn it on again and wait 1 minute for the drives to mount.

Patrons must keep track of their data. Applications on workstations have default storage locations that are frequently reset by the previous patron. When beginning work at any workstation, be sure to get familiar with your application’s storage preferences, and when saving any work, always open a full dialog box (turn down the triangle in the upper right corner if necessary) to follow the path to your folder on a storage drive.

Recording and editing video remotely from drives not directly attached to the workstation are susceptible to network slowdowns and power failures, resulting in the total loss of work. Save work frequently and make sure to keep track of which workstations and storage drives you are using.