About

What is LabMan?

LabMan (still short for Academic Lab Management Conference), is a national conference for computer lab managers and other IT professionals involved in the management and support of computer labs, computer classrooms, and other technology-driven teaching/learning spaces. Held annually and usually hosted by a college or university, LabMan has become a tradition attended by a relatively small audience, usually between 150 and 300 attendees. Beyond this LabMan has become a community of professionals who collaborate beyond the 3-day conference to discuss and troubleshoot similar issues, find solutions to shared problems, and to explore innovative ideas for enhancing management of academic endpoints.

LabMan 2020 at Virginia Commonwealth University

Increasingly, computer lab management must involve some sort of automation not only to gain efficiency at scale but to ensure repeatability. This is why the theme of this year's conference is "DevOps on the Desktop". This theme largely center's around automation of computer lab management combining concepts such as scripting automation with languages like PowerShell, Python, and Bash. Although these concepts are more likely found in the data center, trends in technology management such as configuration management with tools like Puppet, Ansible, Chef, and others have emerged as useful not only for managing servers, but also for managing workstation endpoints such as desktops, laptops, and even mobile devices. The DevOps approach is defined by concepts such as collaboration between teams, "configuration as code", continuous delivery, repeatability, embracing failure, and measurement. If you're interested in learning more about how to automate your environments, join us at the LabMan conference at Virginia Commonwealth University.

What is the history of LabMan?

The year was 2000. Computer labs were becoming more and more complex to manage, with users demanding additional application software, more CPU speed, more memory, more hard disk space, more printer paper. It was a never-ending cycle for many. A few computer lab managers got the idea to get together and talk about those issues. So that's what they did! The very first LabMan was hosted at Wayne State University as an inexpensive, informal, and friendly conference designed for people responsible for the maintenance of computer labs in colleges, universities, K-12 schools/districts, and libraries.

The conference has also focused on many topics beyond managing computer labs including wireless support, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), classroom support, innovation spaces,and print management just to name a few. While the scope of the conference remains largely focused on the core of computer lab management, there are other tracks to help provide professional from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines engage and learn new skills.

Where has LabMan been hosted?

So far 20 schools have hosted LabMan all over the continental US. Here is a list of those schools from most recent to least.

  • 2019 - Illinois Institute of Technology
  • 2018 - University of Maryland
  • 2017 - Wright State University
  • 2016 - Xavier University
  • 2015 - University of North Texas
  • 2014 - University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • 2013 - The Evergreen State College
  • 2012 - SUNY Oswego
  • 2011 - Spelman College
  • 2010 - Northhampton Community College
  • 2009 - University of Notre Dame
  • 2008 - Minnesota State University
  • 2007 - Wright State University
  • 2006 - Purdue University
  • 2005 - Cornell University
  • 2004 - Eastern Illinois University
  • 2003 - University of Michigan
  • 2002 - Northwestern University
  • 2001 - Indiana-Purdue Universities
  • 2000 - Wayne State University