GW faces technical obstacles

The Center for Academic Technologies is working to alleviate student and faculty frustrations after technical difficulties disrupted some classes during the first month of school, said Brad Reese, executive director of CAT.

“We do our best to keep up with (the problems),” he said.

Reese said both projectors in the Funger lecture halls failed, and several other glitches occurred at other locations at the start of the semester. The difficulties disrupted instructional time and, in at least one case, caused a lecture of more than 200 students to be dismissed early, students and professors said.

About seven classes are held in Funger 103 and 108 Monday through Thursday. More than 1,150 students have classes in at least one of the two rooms, said Elizabeth Amundson, assistant registrar for Scheduling/Data Management.

Reese attributed the problems to old technology and the departure of an employee who knew how to repair such systems. New projectors were purchased and installed in Funger classrooms, he said.

But some students and teachers said the headaches created by the technical problems have been going on for a long time.

“This is the second semester that I’ve taught in Funger 108,” said Barbara Miller, professor of anthropology and associate dean of Curricular Affairs for the Elliott School of International Affairs. “Every time I tried to show a film, it was a nightmare.”

“It seems like no one knows what’s going on,” said Corina Monagin, a student in Miller’s class. “They’re pushing it off on other people.”

Miller’s teaching assistant Allison Wilson said she agreed.

“People never give us straight answers and give us the run-around,” she said.

Some students said the technology service should be better, considering the high tuition.

“It’s a misuse of our money,” freshman Amanda Griffith said.

“We pay a lot to come here, and we want to get the best out of it,” said freshman Lia Testa.

Reese said with the growing technological needs in the classroom, glitches are inevitable now and in the future.

“We will have another technology failure,” he said.

An e-mail communications chain for Funger professors started to notify teachers of technical issues, Reese said. In addition, as money becomes available, it will be used to purchase new equipment. Reese expects new overhead projectors to arrive in classrooms within the next month and electronic lecterns to be placed in some Academic Center rooms by the end of this week.

In spite of these future improvements, some students and faculty said the problems should have been rectified sooner.

“It puts us in a hard position and wastes ours and the student’s time,” Wilson said. “If they have this technology, they should make sure it works.”

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