Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wasteful Wireless on Campus

I just thought I would post a petty post today. I noticed this grand article on the front of the A-T today. We have installed wireless in academic buildings.

In a time of scarce resources, do we really need to spend money on this? I don't see how this is going to enhance learning on our campus. It allows the annoying click of keys and students to randomly surf the web when they should be taking notes. Great!

I suppose I'll now have to circulate to the back of the room to see if students are doing something productive on their laptops during my classes.

If someone can find me a decent pedagogical reason for having this, I'll relent, but I sure can't think of one. . .

12 comments:

S.B. said...

Because the computer labs are really crowded all the time. It would be nice if some students would bring their laptops to work, therefore freeing up computers for other people.

Also, I don't think setting up wireless networks costs that much.

I see the point about students going online during class; you could disallow computers in class (or maybe you're not allowed to?) if it bugs you that much.

babblemur said...

In my relentless efforts to figure out who you are I have just ruled out the Computer Science Dept. and have determined that you are over the age of 40.

I am frighteningly close - in fact I think you just might be...Provost Lane Earns!

nemesis said...

babblemur said...
"In my relentless efforts to figure out who you are ... I think you just might be...Provost Lane Earns!"

Nah, can't be. Earns is intelligent and insightful, a thoughtful articulate man of great reasoning skill ...
;-)

Anonymous said...

I can help you out...each campus gets an allocation of money yearly for what’s called the Student Technology Fee. Part of this is built into tuition (most of it) the university system (state) also contributes. This money is free for allocation as campuses see fit. Every year proposals are accepted and the committee decides what to approve and this is comprised of all students and appointed by OSA.

I believe wireless access does two things it offers the ability to cater to students who would like to bring laptops to class for notes etc. and also alleviates congestion in labs. The cost of these access points are relatively minimal and requires little to no maintenance as they can be administered by campus staff. If there is anything I left out let me know and I’ll do my best to provide it.

P.s. The mystery continues on who the person responsible for this blog is…but I’m betting the Political Science Department is the place to look…

nemesis said...

"The mystery continues on who the person responsible for this blog is…but I’m betting the Political Science Department is the place to look…"

No way! He doesn't seem knowledgable enough about politics. In fact, he doesn't seem knowledgable about much of anything in particular ... so I'm thinking English ...
8-P

Anonymous said...

I should clarify my statement above...

The STF is a tuition surcharge, which is part of UW System’s GPR/Fee budget. As such, it is subject to policies for approval and allocation of GPR/Fee funds. It is not a Segregated Fee. The "Fee" is mandatory as well as the level of the fee currently 2%.

Didn't want anyone to assume its just free money or that students could decide to stop funding it.

Anonymous said...

Nemesis and babblemur,

Winneblogo is definitely not some one in political science

Bickford

babblemur said...

I just like to tease Lake Winneblogo, I don't really care who she is that much. I am actually impressed at the continued anonymity - although I have a pretty good idea of who she is.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I think wireless access in the library and in common areas is fine. I, however, think that computers are a disruption in the classroom.

I don't know if it is good or bad to know that there is money that is allocated for computers that has to be spent, whether or not it is necessary. If we have to invent uses for it, it could be better spent in other areas of instruction. Why are the bureaucratic regs written in such a way that our hands are tied like this?

Finally, all the speculation about my identity is kind of fun. I started this blog because I think that campus discussion is quite restrained and unfulfilling. Maybe we all are having lively debates in our own departments, but there is no common culture of debate.

Generally, I haven't said anything that I might not otherwise have said, but anonymity gives me less pause about making it public.

Our official discussion lists are constrained constant "reminders" from administrators that politics are forbidden, so we need another place to vent.

In that way, the blog has been quite successful. We have had decent arguments about Barrett, administrative politics, and other topics. However, I may have killed the COLS list. I haven't seen a real conversation there since the year began. . .

Lammers said...

Lake Winneblogo said...
"I think that campus discussion is quite restrained and unfulfilling."

Read that "polite" and "courteous."
:-)

"However, I may have killed the COLS list."

Well, it wasn't YOU who drove me to unsubscribe from that thing ...

Anonymous said...

Lake Winneblogo said...
"I don't know if it is good or bad to know that there is money that is allocated for computers that has to be spent, whether or not it is necessary. If we have to invent uses for it, it could be better spent in other areas of instruction. Why are the bureaucratic regs written in such a way that our hands are tied like this?"

While I agree with you I must also add that I don’t think we are inventing ways to spend it. These are ideas posed by students and academic departments to which may benefit students by having extra technology to supplement teaching/learning.

However welcome to the UW System, if you want examples on how our hands are tied with respect to funding issues there are many. Most dealing with money that the state gives to us only to use on specific projects or not use it at all. "Use it or lose it" type funding is becoming popular especially among politicians in Madison since they can say "I tried to help you out, I gave you this money and you didn’t use it".

In this case 1 campus started it(Madison I believe) and they the System applied it to all UW schools. The language reads quite interesting but its intended to provide students with additional services, and cannot replace existing funds intended to support student technology.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I tried to post this earlier but it didn't work and I don't know why, so I'll try again...

I've learned that UWO is getting a major upgrade to its "hard wired" infrastructure, starting this summer (potentially). Apparently our physical infrastructure is old and fragile and desperately needs replacement. The plan is to *physically remove* the old wires from every building and under every street conduit. The projection is that there will be "outages"...weeks at a time, potentially, in which building(s) will not have network access. Think about that for a moment...

One of the reasons for installing wireless nodes is that they can cover the network while the upgrade occurs. Did you know we are also installing parts of an optical network on campus, for the same reason?

I don't think a wireless network is a waste of money at all...wireless is inevitable, for good or bad.

And I also wonder about the identitiy of Lake Winneblogo!