Tech issues overshadow first day of classes after ILO outsourcing – The Rider News

By Kaitlyn McCormick

Many Rider professors had to quickly pivot their lesson plans on the first day of classes last week as students and professors faced a host of technical difficulties following restructuring and cuts to the Office department. information technology (ILO) of the school.

Film and television professor Cynthia Lucia had to change her class on Wednesday due to a faulty projector bulb at Beaux-Arts 205 which prevented her from showing film clips to her film students.

“My whole lesson was kind of planned around showing film clips on my DVDs with chapters marked,” Lucia said before detailing how the class ended up relying on their own silent devices and pressing reading at the same time while relying on the sound of his laptop. .

Lucia said the techs who came to help with her class issues were “very responsive…I think they may have been taken by surprise too, and I know there’s a real underfunding issue.” -effective at the moment”.

Communication teacher Jessi Oliano also had problems showing up in the same class for her History and Principles of Graphic Design class on Wednesday, which was “really unfortunate” due to the amount of visuals she had prepared to share with his students.

“We are such a visual department in general… so [not] having these visuals to use as examples is very difficult,” Oliano said. “Fortunately, I brought my laptop… and walked around the room and showed examples, and it’s really not ideal.”

Although the issue has since been resolved, she noted that the experience was frustrating, especially on the first day of class.

Jenna Krauss, a junior graphic design student, had several classes in different rooms that were clouded by technology issues.

Krauss explained, “It just seemed a bit silly to me that it was day one and already so many teachers are having trouble in these classes.”

“It’s frustrating, I think, probably for both teachers and students,” Krauss continued.

Contrary to Lucia’s account, Krauss described the technicians who came to help Oliano’s class as very “hot and heavy”.

“They completely disrupted Professor Oliano’s class,” Krauss said.

Technology and system issues were just one of many topics on the negotiating table between Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP) and the university administration as continued to engage in a heated and protracted contract negotiation.

AAUP president and communications professor David Dewberry said when teachers face these issues, they in turn make it “difficult to fulfill the educational mission” they begin in the classroom.

Rider vice president and chief financial officer Jim Hartman sent a communication to university faculty and staff Sept. 7 regarding the issues.

“Over the summer, the Rider OIT team has now become an integral part of the Ellucian Managed Services team which will continue to support Rider’s IT needs as Rider itself continues to evolve and change,” says the press release.

The communication also explained that the university is “rebuilding and refocusing a smaller IT organization to support an evolving Rider community,” now supported by Ellucian resources.

The email included bullet points describing a 24/7 call center, information on ‘teaching and learning support’, including helplines in class, as well as additional information on technology support and cybersecurity support and management.

The email also outlined what the department needed from faculty and staff: “Given the changes we are all going through, it will be very difficult to provide last minute services beyond repairs. … We need you to let us know as soon as possible about events, potential issues and any upcoming needs you may have. We continue to receive last minute service requests and want the community to understand that this is not sustainable,” the statement read.

While Associate Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Douglas McCrea was unavailable for comment, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Academic Communications Kristine Brown provided a written statement on Ellucian and Rider’s ILO.

“The Ellucian team is committed to maintaining open lines of communication with the Rider community as the work evolves,” the statement read. “This new relationship and service model is ultimately in the best interest of Rider who will continue to help the university move forward and support our academic mission. We ask everyone to continue to be patient as work to improve technology services to our community progresses. »

According to Dewberry, outsourcing Rider’s IT department was just another bad decision by the administration.

Earnest L. Veasey