All students at Mary Washington, with the exception of this year’s freshmen, should remember the obnoxious technology proficiency tests required by the school. If we did not complete them by a certain date, we were threatened with the inability to register for our fall classes of sophomore year.
These tests included a variety of challenging (please note the sarcasm) questions involving the File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, and Table menus on Microsoft Word, along with further questioning about Simpson Library and all its amenities.
Finally, for dessert if you will, no technology proficiency-test testing our skills that we’ve had since elementary and middle school would be complete without an hour-long Excel spreadsheet extravaganza.
Lucky for this year’s freshmen class and freshmen classes for years to come, the technology proficiency tests have been done away with and there is no longer need to complain about them except for the sake of upperclassmen’s memories.
For this reason I have a proposal to make:
A new test needs to be issued. No, not to the students, but to the UMW technology department itself.
On at least 8 different occasions this year, the Internet has been down in my dorm. But who’s counting?
For an academic program that asks its students to be so dependent on Internet programs such as Banner and Blackboard, one would hope that those in charge of technology on campus would take extra strides to keep the server up and to have alternatives ready when necessary.
Many faculty members who teach multiple sections and courses in a day rely heavily on Blackboard to send students class documents to prevent hauling in an unnecessary load of paper. Seldom a day goes by when I do not need to log on to the Internet to download documents for upcoming classes. No matter what, it’s my responsibility to be prepared for class. Inability to access the Internet is often not considered an excuse by the faculty (quite a letdown by the UMW server).
As much as I’d love to play a guessing game as to when the Internet will work and when it will not, I don’t have time for that sort of thing. Due to my lack of further knowledge about how Internet servers work, I will stop complaining now.
I do feel that our world has become far too dependent on the Internet in every regard and often ask myself what would happen if it just wasn’t there one day (chaos), but if UMW insists on making students use it on a regular basis, I beg the school to provide a regularly reliable Internet service.