In 1962, The Jetsons predicted a future complete with flying cars and robot maids. Now, it is 2016 and Montclair State’s wireless Internet can barely withstand daily student use. Admittedly, we all thought the future would be much more glamorous.
Instead, students and faculty struggle to maintain their sanity each day as their wireless devices fail, yet again, to connect to the university’s Wi-Fi. These problems have plagued the campus community for far too long and adjustments need to be made, as it is absolutely essential for both students and professors have access to wireless Internet while on campus.
Today’s college students have used technology and the Internet to enhance their education since the start of elementary school. Now, technology and the Internet are not just utilized as enhancement tools, since they serve as a required aspect of the educational system and have ultimately changed the way in which we learn.
In the classroom, professors often choose to show videos during lectures to bring a topic to life, but at Montclair State, students sometimes do not get the opportunity to watch those videos due to the slow Wi-Fi. In many cases, the class ends up losing valuable instructional time as the professor toys with computer equipment. Class interruptions of this manner occur each and every day and entire classes are starting to miss out on invaluable learning opportunities.
Students are also losing opportunities to participate in peer-to-peer learning when there are Wi-Fi issues within the classroom. Professors commonly assign presentations to encourage peer-to-peer learning. This is problematic when students face Wi-Fi complications, as weak Internet connections can prevent them from accessing their work if it is saved in an online Dropbox. If a student cannot give their presentation to the class, their grade may end up paying the price.
If wireless Internet worked correctly, students would be able to participate in peer-to-peer learning and no one would have to be concerned about their grade.
Montclair State’s Wi-Fi shortcomings are seen around campus, but they have become particularly prominent when students are on Canvas, the university’s learning management system. While all classes usually have some degree of Canvas integration, online and hybrid classes are among those that are most affected by the poor Internet conditions on campus. Online and hybrid classes require a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to submit assignments and complete tests and quizzes. Unstable connections have resulted in students losing all their work as well as becoming incapable of posting to discussion boards and submitting assignments on time. When the wireless Internet on campus fails, students are left feeling helpless.
This problem is even hurting students outside of class. Montclair State’s academic policies state, “All Montclair State University students are provided with, and are expected to utilize, a MSU email account.” It is hard to make use of an email account that many students are unable to access while on campus. Having better Wi-Fi on campus would help students stay in contact with their professors and receive important emails in a prompt manner.
Also, the areas in which students find relaxation before or in between classes are not equipped to provide individuals with constant Internet. Students can normally be found in the Harry A. Sprague Library or in the Student Center Annex using their wireless devices to stream Netflix or listen to music. It is imperative that students have a way to relax and reduce stress during their free time. It easily becomes more stressful for individuals when they are unable to partake in those activities when Wi-Fi difficulties stop them.
While Wi-Fi problems have proven to be major inconveniences time and time again, the student body’s and faculty’s cries were finally addressed when Montclair State announced a multimillion dollar network infrastructure upgrade last fall. However, significant improvements in Wi-Fi connectivity have yet to be seen.
Until these problems are thoroughly addressed by Montclair State, students are going to miss out in the physical and virtual classroom as well as in their daily lives. We are not asking for flying cars or robot maids, we just want Wi-Fi that works.