Internet saves time for NW Ohio college studentsWritten by Zach Silka | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For students arriving at local colleges and universities this fall, hopping on the Internet will be a huge time-saver.
The hassles of heading to multiple buildings for books, registration and financial aid notices have been eliminated. With school-supported intranets, which only those with proper identification can access, students can take care of all these first week activities.
At the University of Toledo, students had been using Web for Students, but the university will implement a new Web portal in the fall called MyUT. The system will have many of the same capabilities but will require only one user ID and password, said Joe Sawasky, the interim assistant vice president of educational and information technology at UT. Sawasky said 99 percent of UT students utilize this service to conduct their day-to-day business with the university, including printing off grades and paying their tuition.
”It really has freed them up to not worry so much about the administrative kind of activities at the university and really focus more of their time on learning,” he said. ”The Internet generation demands those kinds of things.”
Even with more than 3,000 computers in labs throughout the campus, Sawasky said many students are opting to use their own laptops to tap into wireless Internet access points at UT. About 25 percent of UT’s classrooms are wireless and each new construction project will have wireless Internet access as a standard component, Sawasky said.
At Owens Community College, students had utilized Campus Pipeline for their online administrative needs, but the campus soon will switch to a new system called the Ozone, said Bill Ivoska, vice president of Student Services. While the Internet has made registering for classes and viewing degree requirements much more efficient, Ivoska said students still have the option of coming in and carrying out their business the old-fashioned way.
”Student reaction is always positive because those who want the Web can use it,” he said. ”Those who don’t, [they] don’t have to use it.”
Students at UT and Owens also can use the Internet to take online courses in place of or in addition to their normal courses with classroom-based instruction. Sawasky said UT is Ohio’s leading four-year institution in the way of distance learning, with more and more professors making their class material accessible via online instruction.
Ivoska said online classes are the most popular courses at Owens, more so than any class offered on campus. He also said online classes work the best for people with ”access issues,” such as day-shift workers that want to go to class at night or mothers with young children who choose not to leave the house.
”But in reality, that’s not who takes those classes,” Ivoska said. ”Who takes up the Web classes are often times traditional-age students, who maybe in the past took three or four classes but now can take sneak in another one … and then they can graduate faster.”
Bowling Green State University and UT offer computer help centers for students to bring their troubled computer and other pieces of technology. Sawasky said his department at UT also sponsors orientation programs during the summer for incoming freshmen to train them on basic networking on campus.
”We invest a lot there to make students’ experiences easy so that they don’t have any down time when they come to campus,” Sawasky said.