“Complaints about the system are common with lecturers and students alike which ultimately begs the question of why it even still exists”
Back in 2011 the University of Glasgow decided to follow other universities in ‘”improving” the online experience for students. And here we have it, MyCampus, a website that once again has crashed. It’s no surprise at this point; I’ve only been at the University a year, but I’ve come accustom to regular Twitter notifications telling me to put my academic plans on hold until they fix the website again. Sure enough my Twitter pinged again on enrolment day, which has now been delayed until August 14.
Many seem to be worried that because of this crash, when enrolment eventually reopens they’ll find that their classes have been filled. It would certainly be unfair that the people who aimed to get this done the earliest would ever find themselves in that position, but luckily, we’ve been assured that this won’t be the case. My worry isn’t that my classes may get filled, it is instead a worry with the plaster over the bursting pipe response that the University has taken with “continuing issues” that this system has.
This isn’t a taboo subject, everyone knows it’s awful: in one of my first lectures at the University the lecturer described the website as “crap”. Complaints about the system are common with lecturers and students alike which ultimately begs the question of why it even still exists. Keep in mind that like everything at University, we’re diving deep into debt for it. The website crashes with the slightest bit of pressure and the actual enrolment is one of the ugliest, least user-friendly processes you will find.
Surely it’s time for an upgrade. I know MyCampus was only introduced to the University in 2011, but it feels more like something invented in 2003. Postgrad friends have told me in the past that they preferred the old system, and it’s rare I find myself craving to revert to a more outdated system. Despite the fact that it isn’t our fault, as students it is our problem. Active student voices suggesting how to combat this could only help move the process of upgrading along (considering University haven’t announced any plans to change the system as of yet).
It would be nice if a panel was hosted where students could share their various ideas of what could be changed, how it could be done and so on. One idea that I particularly like would be to have eager IT students develop a new system. Not only am I confident that they’d produce something far superior to MyCampus, but there is something quite unique and fun in the idea of having a university website developed by students at that university, a “for students, by students” type thing.
I’d say it is as simple as just introducing a new website (though I imagine that would cost a lot of money), but the last time that was done MyCampus happened. Next time we introduce a new system or an improvement to the current one, it’s important that the students get to express their grievances (my personal issue being stop crashing) so that we can avoid a scenario where we get something worse than what we already have.
What’s apparent is something real needs to be done, something more than a quick hotfix. Our frustrations online certainly help get the message across, but this is a university and a place of activism; we need to be more vocal on this issue, not only in our frustration but also in our ideas. Otherwise we’ll be looking at yet another disappointing, frustrating enrolment process once again next year.