Caitlin McAlister UP editor

Caitlin McAlister
UP editor

Today’s students require updated technology

It’s a scenario we students have all faced — you’re on your way to class when you realize you forgot to print out an assignment. You dart into the library to print it out, rushing to get it done as quickly as possible. You sit down, log into a computer, tapping your foot in impatience, and finally hit print. You then go to the print queue, log in again, hit print again, and then wait patiently in line at the counter for your documents to print — and that’s assuming that the printer actually spits them out correctly, and that the poor student assistant at the counter doesn’t have to tell you to repeat the whole sordid process again.

By this point, you are quite possibly late for class, and fuming, once again, at how unnecessarily complicated technology — or the lack of it — has made life at Lamar.

In the above scenario, everything between walking into the library and waiting at the counter could have been streamlined by wireless printing. With that, one could simply print the assignment from one’s laptop, or even one’s phone. The problem? Our library doesn’t have it.

This is not the only area in which Lamar’s technology is, sadly, lacking, as any student who has ever tried to log onto the university’s wi-fi will tell you. This is a particularly frustrating problem for students, especially since the university removed all internet access from the dorms except the school’s wi-fi ­— even to the point of banning on-campus residents from bringing their own routers.

In fact, the two problems are actually related — you can’t have wireless printing without a quality wi-fi connection, so the slow speed and lack of signal strength with the university’s wi-fi is actually impeding the library from being able to even consider wireless printing as a realistic solution.

I’m not saying Lamar needs to constantly keep up with the latest technology — that, I know, would likely be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, not to mention involve a lot of logistical headaches and confusion. I am saying Lamar needs to ensure that the basic technological needs of its students are met, especially if it is going to leave them with few other options.

Whether we like it or not, our digital-driven society has made technology a necessity for college students. More and more of the content students have to have for classes — including assignments, research materials, even entire textbooks — is now on the internet. Lamar has made an effort in recent years to offer more online classes — one facet of its effort to make LU a more attractive college option.

The effect of these changes on the day-to-day lives of students is very real. Some professors don’t even hand out hard copies of their syllabi or course calendars anymore, and one of my professors uploads all of his class content and assignments on Blackboard — meaning that I would literally fail his class without reliable internet access.

If Lamar truly wants to be a cutting-edge, top-notch university, then it needs to make sure that its students have access to the tools they need to succeed academically — including technology.

Caitlin McAlister, UP editor

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