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As a pilot for the academic year 2019/20, and in response to student feedback, St George’s University of London has revised its policy for student printing and photocopying. The University now provides free printing and photocopying on all student multi-functional devices (MFDs) for academic purposes and within reasonable limits.

Rationale for this policy

  • Where possible the University seeks to deliver teaching and learning materials and documentation in digital form so that these can be accessed from any location on a wide variety of devices.

  • Students submit coursework electronically across all disciplines where practicable.

  • Students are encouraged to work digitally as far as possible. To enable material to be stored safely and used flexibly, extensive storage facilities are provided via Office 365, Canvas and using student H:Drives.

  • The University, however, recognises that in the course of their study, students may need to print out or photocopy certain materials. Within the framework of this policy this service is provided at no charge.

Sustainability considerations

  • Unnecessary printing and copying are not only detrimental to the environment, but cost the University significant sums which could otherwise be spent on further improving the student experience.

  • In collaboration with the Students’ Union, the University encourages students to consider the ethical and environmental implications of their actions, including printing and copying. Further guidance on ways to minimise your printing and copying requirements is provided in the guidance at Appendix A (below).

Scope of the Policy

  • This policy covers free printing and photocopying on all student multi-functional devices (MFDs) for academic purposes and within reasonable limits.

  • This policy applies to all enrolled students. It does not cover the use of printing and photocopying facilities at the overseas campuses, or at the sites of collaborative partners.

Reasonable Usage

  • The University recognises that students will have different printing and copying requirements and is alert to the needs of different programmes and modules. Consequently, the definition of what is a “reasonable” amount of printing and photocopying will take account of the programme, modules and wider University usage levels. It will also take account of reasonable adjustments that may be required by students with disabilities; those campaigning for election to the Students’ Union, or those actively involved in publicising student activities and groups.

  • Students whose usage is deemed as excessive will be contacted in writing and will have the opportunity to inform the University of any relevant mitigating circumstances that may have contributed to excessive use prior to any consideration of misconduct (as defined in paragraph 20.3 of the Student Disciplinary Procedure (PDF)). 

  • The University reserves the right to periodically review and change the charges levied for printing.

Copyright law and permitted photocopying and scanning

  • Copyright law exists to protect the rights of authors, illustrators etc and breach of copyright is a legal offence as well as an infringement of University Regulations. Breach of copyright includes copying more than a certain proportion from printed and electronic books and journals, web sites etc.

  • Students may only copy or scan a “fair” amount of a copyright protected work, which is generally limited to one chapter from a book, a single article from a journal or 10% of a publication. This covers the vast majority of the print and electronic materials held or made available by the Library.

  • Where students are found to have copied (printed or scanned) material in breach of copyright, this material may be confiscated and further action taken as set out in the General Regulations for Students and Programmes of Study.

Unauthorised use of the printing and copying facilities

The following activities are not permitted on the University’s print/copy facilities:

  • Printing or copying for personal uses not related to study or University business.

  • Printing or copying on behalf of others.

  • Printing, copying or scanning in breach of copyright (see above).

  • Printing in breach of the Acceptable Use of Information Assets Policy [link] e.g. the printing of pornographic or otherwise offensive material.

  • Excessive printing or copying.

Liability for misuse and disciplinary action

  • Excessive printing or copying, or other unauthorised use of printing and copying facilities as outlined above, will constitute misconduct as defined in paragraph 20.3 of the Student Disciplinary Procedure (PDF). 

Conserving the environment and making best use of University resources

The University is committed to improving its own environmental performance in a wide variety of ways including the effective utilisation of printing and copying facilities and thereby contributing to the saving of trees. The production of paper requires a large resource input in terms of energy, water and chemicals, and produces large volumes of solid, liquid and gaseous waste, some of which is hazardous. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to reduce paper consumption. You are in control of how much and what you print so please help us minimise our environmental impact, reduce our costs and keep this valuable printing service free for you.

To play your part, please ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really need to print/copy or will a digital version suffice? Remember that you can now mark up and annotate digital copies online using the capability built into most Office 365 apps. Ask the IT Service Desk for help.

  • Have I securely backed up my work and, if so, is it still necessary to print out a copy?

  • Can I remove the need to photocopy by scanning instead, with the scanned document being sent to my email box? Scanning from an MFD device is easy and free too.

  • Can I reduce the number of pages I need to print by changing the font size or reducing the margins?

  • Have I checked my work to ensure that I have the final copy incorporating all the amendments and following an automatic spell-check before printing it out?

  • Have I used the print preview option to ensure that my document fits on to the smallest number of pages that will be appropriate? (This is especially true for spreadsheets.)

  • Could I reduce the number of pages I need by printing or copying two pages per sheet?

  • If I am only making small changes to a document, then am I sure that I am only reprinting the pages that have changed – not the whole document?

  • Can I use Office 365 to share documents with a group, rather than photocopy or print?

  • Am I saying "no" to printing PowerPoint presentations? PowerPoint files can be full of graphics, coloured backgrounds and very little text. Instead of printing, use it as a study opportunity to take notes—typing or writing—from the PowerPoint. By recording the information yourself, you become more familiar with the material. Consider uploading the file to OneNote and writing your notes electronically alongside each slide there

With thanks to the University of West London for permission to draw on their printing and photocopying policy and guidance for students (September 2018).


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