Since schools are requiring the use of the Internet, students have to adjust to a more digital atmosphere. Used by students as a primary reference source and for daily communication, the unreliability of the campus network has students frustrated.
“I get aggravated when the server goes down because I use the Internet to get all the news in the world such as sports and business. I check my e-mail a lot because I get more e-mail than phone calls and I use Instant Messenger more than the phone,” junior Ryan Dixon said. ” When I do not have the Internet, I feel disconnected from the world unless I buy a newspaper. Because I go to Cabrini, I try to deal without the Internet, because it usually goes down once a week. Having a reliable network is not possible here, because when the net goes down no one knows why and it happens often. It doesn’t run well and it needs to be taken care of.”
The Internet is useful to students, but with the frustration when the network is down, are students too dependent on it? Sophomore Karen Bonin said, “Cabrini students are no more dependent on the web than any other students. Teachers have made it a necessity, so it would be almost impossible for college students in general not to be dependent on it.”
Some professors at Cabrini require students to use their personal websites, which increases web dependency. Some professors post the syllabus on the web and students submit their papers via e-mail attachment. The problem with this is sometimes the sites are down and cannot be accessed. And, of course, when the server is down, how are students supposed to send anything to teachers?
English professor Marilyn Johnson is an avid web user. In fact, she has her own website which she uses to communicate with her students between classes. Johnson distributes a one-page syllabus to her students in class, and the syllabus tells them where they can find the rest of the information.
“Currently my students send their papers to my e-mail, to the WebCT class page, and to Turnitin.com,” Johnson said. “I am experimenting with all three ways to see which one works best. However I get the papers, I then read and comment on them using Insert Comments or Track Changes and e-mail them back to the students.”
Johnson also has a class e-mail group. This allows students to keep in touch with the teacher outside of the two class meetings. It is ideal for students who are too shy to participate in class.
How dependent on the web is Johnson? “I really, really like having this tool,” she said. “I like being able to be in touch with my students at any time. I also use e-mail to arrange conferences with advisees and to do some advising, too.”
As uses for the Internet continue to expand, students will be expected to be web savvy.