ICT gathers student input

The information and communication technologies department at Wilfrid Laurier University is looking to improve their services.

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

The information and communication technologies department at Wilfrid Laurier University is looking to improve their services. Department members were situated in the Concourse last week to speak with students about the services they are offering and how they can further improve.

ICT placed large boards up in the Concourse for students to place dots on the subjects they felt needed improvement or more attention.

According to Ken Boyd, director of ICT solutions, the biggest issue they heard about from students was WiFi.

“WiFi needs a lot of attention. We’re not really surprised with that, but it is the big topic that students wanted us to look into,” he explained.

Boyd saw this as a growing issue on Twitter, but urged students to reach out and let the department know if there are other issues. They are slowly working on this issue and began with residences on both campuses throughout the summer. Now, residence connectivity can only be accessed through WiFi, which began in September.

Boyd added that while they are fixing WiFi for greater access in lecture halls, students using their smart phones as WiFi hot spots further inhibit access because these phones are competing for that same signal.

“So in large exams that are being done online, the first thing the professor has been instructed to say is to shut off smart phones,” he said. “This will free up some resources for students to get access to the WiFi connection.”

Melanie More-Duckworth, manager of ICT service desks and student support, explained that the student service desk located in the Concourse is the primary point of contact for students.

As for the next steps, feedback from both campuses will be reviewed and areas that were indicated with greater need for improvement will be focused on.

“We got some feedback on our computer labs and how long it takes to log in, so we got some specific areas where we can improve and get the immediate impact on students, so that’s kind of what the next step is,” said More-Duckworth.  “We’re looking at those areas and how we can improve the overall student experience.”

Another issue ICT will be looking to improve is the class registration process. The feedback from surveys the department sends out indicates rapid improvement within the past couple of years.

“About one-third of students were satisfied with their registration two years ago, [50 per cent] last year, to two-thirds being satisfied this year. There were a few key areas that we know were bad … we’re working on that,” said Boyd.

According to Boyd, the ICT department is focused on providing the best student experience, and looking forward to making large improvements year after year.

“We’re listening to what the students have to say,” said More-Duckworth. “This is the first event of this type that we’ve ever had where openly solicited feedback from the students on IT and that’s what we’re interested in, keeping that open communication between ICT and the students.”

    Leave a Reply