Karina Barriga Albring

Equinox Staff


New smartphone models are coming out every week. iPods, iPads, laptops and other gadgets are making connectivity and communication indispensable, and a survey and research firm affirm that the use of technology improves academic performance.

Keene State College Student Assembly is worried that technology “does not seem to be a big goal” for the college, according to junior Eric Grady, student body trustee representative. Therefore, the Student Assembly Technology Committee is designing a survey to find out how students feel about technology management at KSC.


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They intend to distribute the poll in December, work with the results over the break and present them in the beginning of the Spring Semester.

Education is one of the fields experiencing a true revolution due to technological advances.

Professionals from Pearson Foundation affirm 38 percent of American college students say they use electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablets at least every ten minutes, and that 91 percent get additional help from their professor by contacting them online. However, according to Grady, when technology does not work properly, it might “become another headache for college students.” He said,“I hear students saying ‘Ohh! MyKSC sucks’, or ‘the Wi-Fi is never good’, but that never gets addressed by the campus administrators, like the president.”

During the University System Boards of Trustees meeting in September, University of New Hampshire (UNH), Plymouth State University, Granite State College and KSC representatives spoke about how the different campuses are embracing technology.

According to Grady, who is also the chairman of the Technology Committee in Student Assembly, “Keene [State College] really seemed like the weak link out of the four state universities in New Hampshire regarding technology. The three other schools talked about some really cool staff they are doing with technology and Keene State [College] didn’t talk about that at all.”

In order to address the most frequent issues students face regarding technology, Student Assembly will execute a survey. Grady said, “The goal of the survey is to get the students’ voice on technology.”

The survey will be done personally, stopping students in the Student Center and Appian Way to ask questions. The main topics will be the use of MyKSC, Blackboard, wireless, the school’s mobile website and the possibility of having a smartphone application.

The KSC mobile application is one of Grady’s main concerns. According to him, the college lacks an effective smartphone application. In his smartphone, he has the free applications UNH, UMass-Amherst and Northeastern University have  for their students to show people what other schools do, and what “Keene State [College] should do.”

According to Grady, last year students were complaining about not having a mobile website to access MyKSC on their smartphones.

The college then designed a mobile website.

“It is very bad,” Grady said.

Another aspect the survey will focus on is the use of Blackboard. For Grady, there is a problem with technology on this campus, and Blackboard is definitely part of it. “One of the main issues is that students don’t know how to use Blackboard, and a lot of professors don’t know how to use it very well either.”

Nicole Lapointe, KSC sophomore agreed she has had problems with Blackboard, “Sometimes the teachers don’t really explain how to do it. There has always been problems with the it. If you have to do homework over Blackboard, sometimes things don’t upload for correctly, or you can’t download assignments in some computers. There are those type of issues.”

On the other hand, sophomore Jessica Jortberg said she has been using it for about a year-and-a-half with no problems. “Honestly, I check Blackboard probably five times a day, just to keep up with my assignments, like what’s due. It gives you an easier approach to your class assignments.” For her, one of the advantages is that it allows students to see their grades right away. “I love it; I use it every day.”

Grady said an option to make the use of Blackboard more effective for every student and professor would be to create a tutorial course. “I think maybe having a class every first year student has to take, Blackboard 101. It could be only like a three-week class, one credit, and that they teach you how to use Blackboard. Maybe the entire faculty should go to that class and learn to use Blackboard.”

For Grady, not taking advantage of all the options Blackboard offers due to lack of knowledge means an economic loss for KSC. He said, “The school pays a lot of money for Blackboard every year, and I just think it is not worthwhile. If we are going to continue to pay for Blackboard, we should really take advantage of it and make sure everyone knows how to use it.”

Overall, Grady says Blackboard has positive aspects and “could be really useful if it is understood.”

The survey will also inquire about KSC’s home website and MyKSC. According to Laura Seraichick, KSC chief information officer, most calls the IT Help Desk receives are related to difficulties accessing MyKSC. She also expressed that since the college’s website design changed a few weeks ago, the IT Help Desk has received calls asking about it. “Mostly we have heard from a number of faculty members and students who [are] just confused. The navigation changed, so they are asking where they can find things they are used to looking for.”

Seraichick mentioned the Information Department is not in charge of the design of KSC’s website; nevertheless, it has shared the impact the new design has had in the college community with Marketing and Communication, the department in charge.

After Student Assembly processes the results of the survey, they will be presented to the College Information and Technology Committee (CICT). Eric Grady and Tyler King, members of Student Assembly and student representatives in the CICT intend to “work with the committee to get things accomplished,” Grady said.


Karina Barriga Albring can be contacted at kbarriga@keene-equinox.com.


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