Information Technology Departments often have to field a lot of complaints, and Goucher’s IT department is no exception. The many changes that have been implemented to both the campus Internet and the public computers in the library have led to widespread backlash among students. I myself took the assignment for this article on the day of an Internet outage and was ready to eviscerate the tech department within it. I was told that this article would be my “chance to rant” about any computer problems we’ve been having. However, I’ve decided to be more productive and use this article to defend them, as my perspective has changed over the past week.
Let’s start with the Internet. Before the semester began, we were promised a wireless upgrade with the idea being that Goucher would never have internet problems again. However, many people have been ranting about the fact that the internet has supposedly gotten worse since the upgrade. What people fail to realize is that the upgraded internet has not yet been fully implemented. The Wi-Fi upgrade has been quite a massive undertaking for our tech department with the ultimate goal of there being no Wi-Fi dead spots anywhere on campus. However, this is not something that can be done overnight.
I spoke with Bill Leimbach, Goucher’s Vice Pres-ident for Technology and Planning via e-mail and was told that the process of laying down cables to link wireless access points on campus had nearly finished. This means that IT is just about ready to begin the next phase of the plan, progressive installation, which will be done on a building-by-building basis beginning with the residence halls.
However, I think it would be safe to say there hasn’t been as much backlash against the internet changes as there has been against the changes to the Information Commons in the library. The number of public computers in the Athenaeum has been significantly reduced and all of the PCs have been removed. The intention behind this was promoting platform unity and freeing up more workspace in the library since many people were just bringing their laptops anyway. IT chose to keep the iMacs as part of this program of platform unity or running all of Goucher’s official functions on one operating system.
As a PC person myself, I was a little disappointed to hear that Macs have now officially become Goucher’s platform of choice. However, it seems that I am in the minority here. A poll held during the spring 2014 semester indicated that 63% of students on campus owned and preferred Macs. In fact, the MacBook is “strongly recommended” as the computer to bring to campus by IT. It seems that having a personal computer is a must on this campus now. I don’t think that creates too much of a burden for most of us though. As for the Internet, patience is key and I have no doubt that it will be up and running by the end of this academic year if, not sooner.