Roanoke College’s Information Technology office has expanded technological capabilities for students on campus. These changes include expanding the bandwidth, installing Microsoft Office 365, allowing student access to remote labs for math and science, changing Blackboard settings, and even making access easier for students who want to use RC website applications on their mobile devices.
Â One of the biggest complaints from RC students and faculty at the beginning of the fall 2010 semester was how slow some websites like YouTube and Facebook were. The reason for the problems were that IT did not have enough bandwidth for the amount of students who wanted to use these websites. Essentially, these media websites were not prioritized correctly. To fix the problem, IT plans to install a new line that will increase the size of the bandwidth from 100MB to 250MB. Finding ways to increase the bandwidth and traffic capacity is the top goal for IT.
Â “Out intent isn’t to prioritize to a lower priority, our priority is to prioritize things in a way that meet a demand,” said James Dalton, the Vice President of IT.
Â Dalton said the only parts of Facebook that should be impacted by this problem are the media aspects. He also says that to increase capacity for students, IT must find a hard limit. Dalton also notes that he is constantly checking YouTube’s status to see how many students are going on the website to make sure that there are not any problems that occur.Â
Â “It’s the difference between a concrete wall and a trampoline,” Dalton said as a metaphor for hard and soft limits for capacity.
Last spring, RC students also saw a change in the service provider in their email from a RC account to a Microsoft account. According to Dalton, the storage capacity is larger and it has a sky drive. In the email application, there is also Office 365 for students to access Microsoft Office on computers that do not have the program.Â
Â IT has also increased technology for students in the classroom. They helped furnish the newly renovated Lucas Hall for classroom use. Dalton also mentioned the new remote lab program for the math and science classes. Using specific programs like Mathematica and SPS, students can access these lab related programs on their own computers without going to lab. IT is also offering copies of Windows 7 and updates for Macintosh operating systems for free. These updates are included in the student’s tuition.Â In order to get these programs, just go to IT’s office on the third floor of Trexler.Â
Additionally, IT is in the process of switching over the Blackboard program used by the RC community. Currently, some students have Learning Management System Inquire and others have the traditional Blackboard program. IT hopes to switch everyone over to the Inquire program by next year. Finally, IT will be offering more mobile access to programs like Blackboard and a new single sign-on program so students only have to log on once when they check their email.