Students talk about technology

On May 23 at the PALS Center, VP of Information Resources Russ Beard held an open time where students could come talk to him about technology issues on campus, much like office hours. No students showed up to talk at that time, however, which may have been due to the fact that the event was rescheduled from May 19 to a Friday afternoon, a traditionally quiet time on campus.
In general, the website, “is probably at the top of the list. People don’t really care for the website and we’re doing some things to fix that,” said Beard. “I’ve heard today that there are some students who would like to see a mobile app for the college, and that is something we have been looking at for about a year now,” continued Beard. The primary purpose of an app would be wayfinding, to assist users in finding rooms or buildings if they were lost.
One of the biggest complaints on campus is the lack of cell service in certain buildings. Cell service drops to nothing across campus, and that complaint is quite common. Beard held focus groups in January, both sessions started out with the same issue of cell service. According to Beard, “We leased some space on the transmitting tower, the radio station, for Verizon to put a cell up, so Verizon works great but – and I’d be open to doing that for AT&T and T-Mobile, but they just don’t seem to be interested.”
One option would be the installation of wireless repeaters to extend cell networks into buildings, but another option could solve the problem of cell service on campus: “Then there’s a lot of talk about the merger of Wi-Fi and cell. It’s not what we call a ratified protocol yet, kind of out there on the horizon. If that date happens then it would be pretty straightforward, just every wireless access point then becomes a repeater. That would be the ideal solution.”
The future has a lot coming, Beard explained: “There’s lots of stuff going on, it’s really fun. I’ve got a great staff that really is interested in making things better for students, working on plans, the new building, we just kind of finalized the idea of having another open lab in there, I think it’s going to hold 45-46 computers, something like that, and I’d like to push pretty hard to have some really broad hours. I would like to have it available 24-7.”
One issue raised by a nearby student was registration. “I’ve run into problems with registration a lot. I’ve had everything from just it not working, there were times,” said Parker Sipe. “The worst was I ended up paying for a class because I was supposed to drop it and I was locked out because they thought I had a parking ticket that didn’t exist, so I ended up getting it but it cost me $500 because I couldn’t drop the class.”
To contact Russ Beard regarding technology issues on campus, email