ITS addresses student concerns, but questions linger

By Nathan Ress
Griffin Reporter

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Before the start of the 2015-16 fall semester, the decision came from high level Canisius administrators to put an end to the Canisius library’s stock of lend-out laptops. This stock consisted of 50 laptops, available to both faculty and students; each of which was scheduled for a two year lending cycle before being replaced. The decision was made mostly for budget reasons, with the program costing “around $25,000 a year,” said Scott Clark, ITS Director of User Services. However, the cut was also rooted in student surveys. Clark estimated based on these surveys that between 80 and 90 percent of students already own their own laptop.

Clark referenced the growing population of students who own their own machines as a trend that will only continue in years to come. All one has to do is look around in the library to see a real-life backing of this data.

Despite the trend, there is a small population of students who, for one reason or another, do not own laptops. “It does inconvenience some students,” Clark admitted. This was reinforced by Librarian Matt Kochan who referenced a specific piece of student feedback: that now, students without laptops are forced to use the computers in the ‘talking section’ of the library, an area that can be difficult to work in. To solve this issue, Clark offered several possible alternate locations where a student can use a school computer while enjoying some quiet.

While not technically a ‘silent floor,’ Clark offered that there are computers on the basement level of the library available for student use. Furthermore, he reminds students that they also have 24-hour swipe access to the Palisano computer labs. Both of these locations offer their own printers as well.

As for the second floor of the library, Clark did allude to the possible moving of some computers to create a presence in the silent floor environment. However, he also noted that this would take time and some modifications to the wiring and machinery in the building. Clark also acknowledged another possible solution would be “to spread the computers a bit more” on the first level, something echoed in student feedback.

Clark was very understanding of students without their own technology, and is aware of their need for an environment conducive to collegiate work. As for students with their own technology, Clark also commented on the inconsistent Wi-Fi that has been plaguing the campus.

Clark assured The Griffin that ITS is very much on top of the issue, and has had “several people” working to fix it, as well as improving the network as a whole. As for the problem, Clark blamed “short time-out signals” in the network’s transmitters as well as interference caused by the sheer number of routers. With an excess number of routers, laptops could be jumping back and forth between routers causing connection issues for students. According to Clark, the main issue has been addressed, and the ITS team is now looking to further improve the network as a whole.

Clark laid out an estimated $150,000 project to “work on the wireless infrastructure in Old Main and Lyons Hall.” He says the plan will be underway very shortly, scheduled to start during the winter break and be finished by the end of the spring semester. He also talked of upgrading all campus printers on a renewed deal with the school’s current supplier. The new model would offer a wider range of printing functions, as well as the ability to communicate with ITS specialists if there are any technical difficulties during daily use.

Clark urged students to be patient with the technology of Canisius. As an ITS specialist he knows just how frustrating it can be dealing with technology. However, he did stress that ITS is doing everything in its binary power to not only maintain but also improve the network. As such, he invited students to “use the ITS help desk as a resource.” He reminds students that if they experience any issues they can let the help desk know either by phone, email, or even stopping by. Students are encouraged to supply detailed feedback on their issue citing items such as time, location, device, and Canisius username. By establishing a relationship as such, students can be critical in assisting ITS specialists in maintaining and improving Canisius’ expansive network.

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