Stop depending on WebCT , please

Stop depending on WebCT, please

This year, Laurier’s new initiative – forcing students to print off their class syllabus instead of the university doing so – has done more to highlight the continuing trials of WebCT, the online academic resource, than to really save trees.

The absence of physical syllabi is quite frustrating as WebCT was down on the first day of classes.

This means professors and students were left scrambling, yet again, to access critical information.
It is not the first nor will it be the last time WebCT fails to pull through for classes, which leaves one wondering why so many courses are almost dependant on its functioning.

Many professors are quick to sigh heavily when they arrive in the classroom only to find the Internet or other programs out of order. Nevertheless, there has been little effort to escape the issue altogether.

If online resources are required, there are plenty of useful alternatives. For example, the x-drive you can access through Novell – available on all Laurier computers and online at home through www.webaccess.wlu.ca – is essentially a hard-drive where files can be stored and saved.

Other professors have even created their own websites where they can store files and information for all of their classes and research. For professors, this makes the most sense; it is open to the public so they can post information for every school they teach at, connect with other academics and control web formatting.

For students, it may be inconvenient not to reach all classes in one domain; however, not having the online site up and running when it is needed is even more problematic.
WebCT should simply be used for online courses that are solely dependent on communicating outside of the classroom.

However, if the course exists in the physical world, we should be wary of a dependence on unreliable technology. There was a time when students and professors did just fine without the assistance of WebCT. And although we are eager to modernize and progress into a technological world, there is a point where one must admit defeat and move on to a new system.

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