Computer repairs and maintenance is no longer a costly problem, thanks to Cleveland State Community College’s computer information technology program.
Bob Uhl, associate professor of computer information technology at Cleveland State, says student interns working this semester in the repair shop are in need of more computers to work on, and their services are free.
“Regular maintenance is vital,” Uhl said. “It’s recommended that a person who knows absolutely nothing about a computer should take it in for a checkup at least once a year. The dangers resulting from allowing a computer to go unchecked for a long period of time without anti-virus protection is that it only takes about five seconds for the computer to become infected, opening it up to not only loss of your data but also potentially breaches into your personal and financial information.”
Uhl likened computers to automobiles in that both need regular maintenance and occasional repairs to prevent damage or costly repairs.
“The shop here is set up to offer those services to not only the students, faculty and staff at Cleveland State, but also to the general public,” he said. “Outside of the cost of any replacement part needed, all services are provided free of charge, although, of course, donations are always accepted and appreciated.”
Since all the work is done by skilled interns, under the guidance of Cleveland State’s CIT instructors Uhl and Dr. Megen Saez, the service is free because it allows the students to take the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in a practical way through real troubleshooting and repair methods.
Uhl, who has worked on computers for more than two decades, said, “All issues with any kind of desktop PC or laptop can be addressed, whether it’s hardware or software based. We offer free diagnostic services, virus scan and removal and data backup as much as possible. The only potential charge to the customer is for any possible replacement part needed. We will research the part and find the best deal for them. Since we are not a business and have no cash flow, we give them the information so they can buy the part, bring it to us and we install it for them for free.”
It wasn’t that long ago that the average person didn’t have a computer in their house, said Uhl. Now, most people carry around one in their pockets — in the form of a smartphone. With computers being such an integral part of everyone’s daily life, it is more important than ever to keep up with technology and how to use it.
“Today, a computer is much more than just a productivity machine,” Uhl added. “They’re used to run our social lives, interact and communicate with one another, and allow us to consume all sorts of media from music to photography to movies and TV shows. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay on top of technology trends and learn how to keep your system running smoothly.
“This is good for the public because it gives them a very low-cost way of keeping their computers running smoothly. A virus alone can perform all sorts of malicious activities, ranging from causing some sort of annoying activity that makes your computer act crazy to something as extreme as actually locking down an operating system so the computer won’t function at all. Interns are helped because working in the shop meets their requirement for two credits or 100 hours that they need before they can graduate. It also gives them the chance to put their knowledge to practical use as well as their people skills, or ‘soft skills.’”
According to Uhl, all that is needed to get work done on your computer is to bring it in and sign some paperwork. It’s as simple as that. “We do provide backup for your data such as documents and pictures as much as we can, but depending on the problem with the computer we can’t completely guarantee it,” Uhl explained. “And if we have to completely reload your system, you’ll need to have the install disk for any applications like Word or Adobe.”
When asked about his work with computers over the years, Uhl admits, “The thing I like most about doing this job is problem-solving. I like taking things apart and putting them back together to make them work. It’s always fun to learn new things and pass that along to students. I’ve been working with computers for over 20 years and there’s always something new to learn. That’s what I like about this job.”
The Cleveland State Computer Repair Shop is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone owning a computer needing work on it can bring it to the Information Technology department in the Career Education Building on the third floor, Room E-309.
For further information, call 472-7141, ext. 361 or 1-800-604-2722. You can also email the department at:csccrepairshop@ gmail.com or visit: www.clevelandstatecc.edu.