Changes made to improve student technology services
Throughout the academic year, Laurier’s IT department has been undergoing changes to improve the consistency and quality of tech services available on campus.
Systems like WebCT and the wireless networks available on campus that often proved to be unreliable have been examined in an ICT review, and solutions to fix these problems are now being implemented.
“A lot of the frustrations I’ve heard from students these years are about these specific changes,” explained Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president Laura Sheridan.
The systems experiencing the overhaul include the WebCT database, which will be replaced by a new learning management software called Desire to Learn.
WebCT will be phased out over the summer and the new system will be made available in September, along with training in its use for faculty and students.
Tom Buckley, assistant vice-president of academics, explained that the Laurier wireless network has also been under examination.
While this year they have made steps to improve the current network in place, the focus has now shifted to spreading its availability across campus.
“Much like with several other areas, we wanted to stabilize for this academic year and then look to the summer for opportunities to do some fundamental work on re-architecting,” said Buckley.
The IT department is also looking for a new external provider for student e-mail that will be more efficient than what is currently in place.
“Everything will still look the same for students except there will be increased storage on the e-mail account and it will be much more reliable than the current system that’s in place,” said Sheridan.
In addition, students’ MyLaurier accounts are being enhanced to provide a database that can give them access to all of the services through one password and one username.
Sheridan explained that the new MyLaurier “will open up to a screen that will allow them to access their e-mail, access the LORIS system for changing classes; they can get on to the learning management software that way and take a look at their OneCard balance.”
“It’s going to greatly simplify life for students and that’s really what this is all about. It’s improvement of services and it’s simplifying the process by which you access services here at Laurier,” said Buckley.
WebCT will be dissolved and a new system, Desire to Learn, will take over as the learning management software at Laurier
Laurier’s wireless connectivity has been greatly improved with the new server, Laurier Wi-Fi, which has been providing more reliable services. IT is now looking to increase the number of access points available around campus.
Laurier is currently looking for a new external e-mail provider. Students will still use their WLU accounts but will have more storage space and a more efficient and stable system.
The current residence life ResNet program has been amalgamated with the central ITS network and security group to improve the service provided for first year students living in residence.
The mylaurier.ca web site is being reconfigured to provide one database that will allow students easy access to all of their different university accounts with only one username and one password.