Lagging Technology Hinders Classroom Efficiency

After transferring to California Lutheran University last fall from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I saw all of the technological resources available at my fingertips.

As a communication major, two of my classes in the fall were held in Swenson Center, with another class in the computer lab in the Spies-Bornemann Center for Education & Technology and one in Peters Hall.

I was delighted to see desks with enough room to fit my arm and a notebook and even a drink if I should choose to have one. Every classroom was equipped with a projector screen and computers that worked quickly and efficiently, plus having Wi-Fi across campus was something I had no familiarity with. It was nice to finally see a different side of college than what I was used to at my junior college.

Moving into my spring semester my experience has been a little different. I currently have two classes in the Soiland Humanities Center and three classes in the Swenson Center.

What started to catch my attention was the amount of time it would take my professors to upload their PowerPoints onto the computers in the Soiland Humanities Center. My one-hour class on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays in room 110 would take my professor almost fifteen minutes to load his lecture onto the screen.

“The Humanities building technology is really outdated. The computers are so slow, and sometimes it takes 25 minutes just to load,” said Kelly Morro, a senior communication major at Cal Lutheran. “That’s a huge waste of time and definitely needs to be addressed as soon as possible. I’ve never had that problem in Swenson.”

According to the Interim Associate Provost for Information Systems, Zareh Marselian, computers in classrooms are upgraded on a three-to-four year rotation.

Professor Jennifer Marshall of the communication department has taught in both Swenson Center and Soiland Humanities Center.

“We’re very spoiled coming from Swenson,” Marshall said. “We’re requiring our students to do a lot of presentations, and being a mass communication department we’re relying upon those technological means, and it’s hard for them to fulfill their project to the fullest when we’re working with outdated equipment.”

In my Humanities room 109 class, this has been especially difficult. Every week we have student presentations, and more often than not a student will have an issue getting the sound to work on their PowerPoint or getting a link to load in a reasonable amount of time.

“That’s probably one of the most frustrating things is not having a system that’s able to stream videos because it’s a very important way for students to get the information and to learn through a different medium,” Marshall said.

“Instructors have several options in changing classroom technologies,” Marselian said in an email interview. “If a classroom doesn’t meet the instructor’s needs, they can request additional equipment from Media Services. Some instructors who own campus issued laptops prefer to use them in class.”

After my professor in  Humanities room 110 put in a request, it was granted a couple of weeks later and the technology has been running smoothly ever since.

Just recently, my professor in Humanities room 109 was pleasantly surprised to find a new laptop waiting for her before class started.

“Within the last month Information Systems and Services replaced aging laptops and teacher’s stations in six of the Humanities classrooms. The experience for students and instructors should be much improved,” Marselian said in an email interview.

It’s been nice to see an improvement within the last couple of weeks to my classrooms. Although we’re more than midway through the semester, it’s better late than never.

“We do have a wonderful ISS department, and they are extremely helpful when issues do arise. As a whole, CLU is very well off when it comes to technology compared to other, for instance, public universities,” Marshall said. “However, we still need to help meet the demands of our students and make them the most viable candidates, and that can only be done by upgrading our technology.”

Daniela Abravaya
Staff Writer
Published March 25th, 2015