Technology on campus: is it more of a problem than an advantage for students? Resources range from the Wi-Fi network to the computer lab, the library and individual classes that have their own technological resources. But how truly well-equipped is the campus?
The reality is that the Fullerton College campus is 100 years old and home to over 23,000 students, making technology an ongoing issue. Keeping up with ever-changing devices, hardware, wireless systems and interfaces is not only a financial problem, but a major headache.
Other community colleges such as Santiago Canyon College and Orange Coast College have much newer technology available to students. This is due to the fact that these schools and their districts are much newer have the funding that our district simply does not have.
FC students are often frustrated and find they have to deal with more difficulties than advantages when trying to use campus technology.
According to Co Ho, lead of academic and computing technologies, the campus is adequately equipped, but technology is always a moving target. He thinks students have enough access to consumer-grade technology on campus, but it will never be that of a Cal State or UC school. It’s a complicated and expensive system that constantly needs to be fine tuned, and money will always be the biggest problem.
“As technology continues to evolve, we will need to strategically allocate funding in order to maintain the balance of the whole system,” Ho said. “Although we are equipped adequately for current instructional needs, we can prepare better for future needs if we have additional resources.”
As far as receiving funding for new technology goes, Ho also said that the North Orange County Community College District is contemplating a $5 million bond specifically for technological advances in the future.
Kimberly Lazar, a biology major, said the biggest technological problem on campus is still the Wi-Fi.
“The first month of school with no Wi-Fi was really a bad problem because that’s when everyone needs it most,” Lazar said. “Now it’s really not that much better. I still can’t access Wi-Fi in most of my classes, which I think is strange because it was apparently fixed.”
Lazar now does all of her assignments at home and has stopped relying on campus for any technological needs. She said she would rather use her laptop than deal with the slow, aging computers in the library.
“You never know when something is going to go wrong,” Lazar said.
Brett Rodine, a business major, agreed that the Wifi is still a problem. He opted to use his personal Wi-Fi hotspot instead of trying to deal with campus network.
“Technology-wise, I think we need to update all of the wireless systems first and then all of the computers in the labs and any of the classrooms that have computers in them,” Rodine said.
Julian Lee, a linguistics major, also said that Fullerton College could benefit from a technology upgrade.
“I feel it’s adequate at the bare minimum, and there is so much more that we could do,” Lee said. “We could have more computers in the library to start. There’s often a very long line to access a computer and especially because it is a community college with lower income students, there is a strong likelihood that they do not have access to computers at home.”
Lee agreed that the Wi-Fi is still an ongoing problem, especially because it can only be accessed in certain buildings.
“Honestly, I didn’t really even notice anything was supposedly fixed,” Lee said. “It’s still the worst Wi-Fi I’ve ever used.”
The Fullerton College Technology Committee is currently working on a plan to address the growing needs of the campus and will be completed before May 2014, according to Vice President of Student Services Toni DuBois.
DuBois also said that the Wi-Fi is fully functioning in the areas that it is installed, but administration is looking into expanding the Wi-Fi network.
“Administration is very much aware of students’ needs for learning and faculty needs for teaching,” DuBois said. “We would like to expand the Wi-Fi so that it is available in every location on campus. We continue to monitor the servers and will add or upgrade as needed to maintain a first-class educational environment.”