Tigernet2 got you down? Having trouble with PROWL?
The information technology department here at Colorado College is making changes, and they want you to know about it.
Chad Shonewill, Director of User Services, is excited about the changes and sees potential for improvements to the college’s technological infrastructure. Most recently, the college made significant advancements in the wireless network and is currently working to help choose a replacement for PROWL, CC’s online academic database.
“Basically we had a big hardware and software upgrade to the wireless controllers,” said Chad Schonewill. The improvements occurred last week, during Thanksgiving break.
The hope is that these improvements to the wireless network will eliminate many of the issues that students have had with being dropped unexpectedly from Tigernet2.
“The first step is stabilize the learning network, get this thing overhauled, get some of the wireless resources that are needed,” said Brian Young, chief technology officer.
The IT department is optimistic about these improvements, but Schonewill admits they are not completely sure if they will resolve all of the connection problems.
“We’ll see this week what kind of effect the upgrade had, but we don’t really know yet,” he said.
Part of the issue that Schonewill sees is the lack of communication between the student body and the IT department.
“People experience these issues, but they don’t tell us,” he said. “What they do is say ‘This wireless is crap, it’s so annoying,’ but we don’t actually get any information, or the information we get is so vague that it’s not helpful.”
He also admits that these faults in communication are not one sided, but says, “We’re trying to do more with communicating to campus in all kinds of different ways.”
Schonewill says students could help both the IT department fix these issues by telling them where and when their problems occurred, what time they encountered issues, and what kind of device they are using.
“We’re only a few people, and so we can go around and see what it is for us, but that’s nothing compared to what several hundred people could tell us, if they actually told us,” he said.
As a result of the recent upgrade, the source of issues with Internet access has changed. Whereas before the Internet pipe was the bottleneck, now the issue lies with CC’s wireless infrastructure, which is now six years old.
“The untapped potential here is unbelievable and that’s what jazzes me,” Young said.
The IT Department has also been working closely to help choose a successor to PROWL. There are currently two new platforms that are being considered – Desire2Learn and Canvas – both of which some professors have already implemented in their current courses as a test.
IT officials hope to choose one of the two soon, begin integrating it next spring, and fully implement it by fall of next year.
Schonewill says both options will be vastly superior to the PROWL that students currently use.
“In both cases, it’s a modern interface, instead of feeling like it came out of the Stone Age of IT,” he said, referring to PROWL.
Software upgrades are also on the way.
“One of the things we’ll roll out here shortly, is all students will have access, at no cost, to all the Microsoft products,” Young said. “That’s a part of Office 365 that you’ll have actually access to, Word, Powerpoint, without cost.”
In the future, Schonewill hopes the IT Department can become more effective.
“What I’d like to see is for us to get out of maintenance mode, as I call it,” he said. “We feel like we spend most of our time and effort keeping things going as best we can, as they are. I’d like to see us get out of that and see us become more innovative and creative.”