Can't Resist The (IT) MemePosted by Nicole Sharp on 28 June 2005 at 11:33
Sometimes there are memes worth following, and I think people have the right idea with the top IT services meme (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) So here are the aspects I love and hate about computing at Case:
The Rant ListI'm starting here so that we can hopefully end with the happiness. ;)
- SOLAR - Dealing with SOLAR as an upperclassman is not as terrible as dealing with it as a freshman because fewer people rush to get into classes. But back in the 2002/2003 academic year when I was freshman, SOLAR was the bane of my registration process. I'd get up early to try to get into the second-year classes I needed (I had sophomore status and needed to be in sophomore classes, but I was only allowed to register with the freshman, but that is an issue I have with Undergraduate Studies), only to have the system crash. This meant going in person to Yost to stand in the line that reached out to the fountain outside. Going into the registrar's office normally is a painful experience--I don't think I've met meaner administrative assistants in my life--but on days like that it was a special circle of hell unto itself.
- my.case.edu - When I first heard about this, I thought it would be cool. I thought it would be very helpful. And then I signed on. I tried cleaning things up and organizing them, but... Well, it was pretty hopeless. Case's decision to port the DPRs/grades solely through there was quite a bad one, in my opinion, especially when it goes down at the end of the semester.
- HCM - The header has never rendered for me after I sign in. It doesn't matter what browser I use. But, really, the rendering issues aren't the aspect of the system that really frustrates me. As Mark pointed out, the system has a terrible tendency to miraculously find and lose data. How do companies manage to market this? The other thing that upsets me? When we went to this system, one of my jobs got dropped out of the system completely. My supervisor (who was on sabbatical all year) and I had to fill out paperwork to try to get me back in the system so that I can get paid, and it appears never to have been processed. This means that I've worked all semester without pay.
- PerceptIS - It used to be that I could get IT help for free because I was a student. I also used to be able to find useful articles at help.case.edu. Not so much anymore.
The Land of Mixed Feelings
- TutorTrac - This is not exactly IT@Case, but, as a student who tutors through ESS, it's a system with daily impact on my life. Although I think the system is somewhat better than the one we were running in Fall 2004, I think TutorTrac is not very user-friendly, an issue when many of my students are non-native English speakers. Trying to instruct people on how to sign up for appointments and how to view their schedules can be difficult. I do, however, appreciate that it limits appointment-making to sometime before the day of the appointment.
- home.cwru.edu - I love that I can have a website through my university, but the limitations on home.cwru.edu are quite frustrating to me, as is the 25MB limit. It seems like "the most powerful learning environment in the world" could find the funds to improve that system, or perhaps even establish one that's not run solely on the good will of our alumni?
- Calendar - I really can't find a reason to use this. Yes, I need a calendar client, but I think I'll get more out of using a pre-release version of Sunbird than I will get out of this. Now, if ITS took some of Greg's suggestions, I would jump on the bandwagon right away.
- Blackboard - I've worked with this system from both the student and administrator end. I haven't been particularly impressed on either side of things, but I will admit that the system accomplishes some important functions. It would just be nice to see it do a better job.
And I Can't Live Without...
- Wireless - I've had a laptop since my first year on campus, back when wireless hot-spots were rarer. I remember getting kicked out of my room when I needed to be writing a German essay one weekend, and I was wandering around my dorm, trying to find a place with a signal good enough let me access LEO without much luck. There's none of that these days. I'm writing this entry right now via wireless in the lab where I work. If anything, wireless is probably what I miss the most when I'm not on-campus.
- The Network - Obviously I miss the speed of the network when I'm gone, too. There were periods when the network went down often when I was a freshman, but these days, that's rare indeed.
- Software Center - The Software Center gave me free access to Photoshop, which has since become a near daily companion. The Keyaccess issues are an annoyance, but, overall, the Software Center is a huge asset.
- Webmail - The webmail interface is not the greatest thing in the world, but I used it fulltime for two years without any real issues. I recently switched to Thunderbird, but I still use IMAP so that I can access things via webmail when I'm not on my laptop. It's just enormously useful for me since I move around campus all the time during the school year and I don't always carry my laptop with me.
- Single Sign On - This seems very helpful, especially after reading Jeremy's write-up.
- Blog@Case - My university gave me a blog for free. And then they let me play with it until I got things the way I want. How could I possibly complain? (Okay, I could, but only just a little.)
- Searchable Schedule of Classes - Considering the frequency with which I use this system at times, I should have it bookmarked on my main toolbar. It's been enormously helpful, and the access to course evaluations is nice, too.
- DPRs - I understand that DPRs are a serious pain in the rear when they're not correct, but being able to track where the university thinks I am in terms of my degree progress has been really handy. Well, until they decided to port it solely through my.case.edu.
- Nord Computer Lab - It's centrally-located, open 24 hours a day, and actually has computers with useful software. This is far, far more than I can say for my department's so-called computer lab.
I'd post some rants related to the EMAE department accounts, but that's got nothing to do with actual ITS, so I'll refrain.