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University Should Implement a New System to Reach Students

My part-time job at the computer lab provides several things that average students may not be privy to: free printing, for example, or dominion over a vast array of computers, for another.

But one of the things I am most cognizant of and most excited to be witness to is the amalgam of personalities and ideas that come in.

I get to hear what they are talking about, and as a person of (wholly transparent) authority, I am often the first person they go to when they have a CCSU-related question. After one and a half semesters of listening, I am certain of one fact: Central students don’t have a clue as to what is going on with this university.

And more importantly, I really don’t think it’s their fault.

Central has a very curious system set up called “Today@CCSU”. In theory, it is very tech-forward. It is parable, archivable, and can even have a limited export function. In your Central Pipeline account you can register for things you think you might be interested in and have them appear on that page.

You can also just go to today@ccsu, found at http://today. ccsu.edu, and search via interest. The reality of this is that the limitation, while seemingly willing to jive with some interesting tech, fails at several key points. The limited exportability onto a knowable interface means that these cool, interesting speakers and events get thrown on a page that students check twice a year for class registration.

The Today@ CCSU interface is confusing to a newcomer, and is ultimately too awkward to use intuitively. Even worse, actual need-to-know information is very often lost in transmission; I stopped counting how many times people asked about parking bans during snow storms, early dismissals – little details that are supposed to be sent through email. And I don’t doubt they are – but they are sent to places that students do not check, and CCSU’s exhaustive notification system becomes tantamount to yelling in the wind.

It’s time for a revamp. My suggestion is not even really that complicated; it’s a shift in paradigm to accept new technology.

First, you need to reevaluate the Today@CCSU calendar system (keep the calendar, sure, whatever, that’s not important). Increase its operability to be downloaded as a general RSS feed so that you can publish it as a calendar on… the CCSU facebook account!

Yes, we have a group, but you can only do so much with a group. A full-fledged account would allow us so much more in the way of disseminating information. An RSS-ed calendar would be great for taking that weird Today@CCSU interface and putting it somewhere popular and knowable. In fact, the next step is to drop Today@CCSU all together. Actually, I misspoke. Not the whole thing, just the “Today”.

Creating a Twitter account, “@CCSU”, does two important things: one, it allows Central (heh) Pipeline (heh heh) to post all information regarding incoming events. It also allows itself to be ported to the CCSU Facebook account, as well as providing a 100 percent free text-messaging system to all students – you don’t even need a formal Twitter account to follow someone via almost any mobile device.

Suddenly, Central will find itself with a very simple method of information dissemination. Students would be connected the way they want to be connected, not the way CCSU imagines it. The school could become a little bit more solid, and with a little bit less of that “commuter school” reputation. It is absolutely possible, and immediately implement-able, all at the cost of, perhaps, a student intern to manage the system.

I think I might know someone perfect for the job.

 

-Alex Jarvis, Special to The Recorder