Alexis Footman: UC Merced's online system proves fussy

January 24, 2013 

MS CAP & TOWN

MARCI STENBERG/mstenberg@mercedsunstar.com New Cap & Town columnist UC Merced Alexis Footman

MARCI STENBERG — Merced Sun-Star

— The UC Merced student population has finally returned for the spring semester eager to finish out the year.

While most students are organizing their schedules and meeting with their professors, there are some who have been struggling all week with the newly upgraded online portal.

The software allows students to easily access just about everything that has to do with being a student. From class schedules and assignments to email, the online portal is vital for just about everyone on campus.

The new upgraded portal is much different than the older version because of its physical transformation, although it still permits access to the same amount of information.

Some students are having issues with the email program that has been completely transferred to a new system. When using the old portal, students and faculty were able to access their email directly through the UC Merced portal. With the new upgrade, the email link opens a new program, which makes checking emails daily a lot more complex than it has to be.

Several students have not received any emails this week and continue to work with the IT Help Desk to resolve this issue. I prefer the simplicity of the older version of the portal, because it only required entering your login information once in comparison to the new software, which asks several times.

On a much more positive note, IT has sent out several emails in response to student concern with the new updates. Both faculty and students are encouraged to visit the help desk to work out any remaining issues.

Through my own experience I have learned that IT is a lot more helpful in person because they can physically address any concerns. It seems like they are still working out all of the kinks with the new program, and there most likely will be more changes in the near future.

In addition to the recent portal updates, there has been an announcement revealing new upgrades to the wireless network in the Kolligan Library.

Referred to by IT as "the latest Motorola technology," the new upgrades are expected to increase security and performance in the library's wireless network. While the library has had a history of issues with connectivity, students are hopeful that the new technology will make the library a lot more laptop-friendly.

As university technology continues to advance along with the growth of the campus, some are concerned the upgrades will cause more confusion than ease. However, as the student population continues to grow, the demand for advanced technology will rise to meet the needs of every student.

The IT Help Desk, mostly staffed by students, has remained available to address student concerns and has continued to communicate all of the anticipated changes with the campus population.

Alexis Footman is a senior at UC Merced and is majoring in psychology.

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