By Lou Figurito
It’s hard not to feel like you’re getting ripped off when you’re dealing with the College’s web services, and students agree.
“It’s frustrating when I’m trying to sign up for a class and get kicked off the site for hours, only to come back and find the class has filled up and closed when I get access,” said a frustrated Ninamaria Barbara, a full time student. The website is unreliable, noticeably only on the student side, called MySCCC, during peak times. The unreliability of the site is highlighted the night of “drop day”, when there’s a big influx of students to the site trying to pick up on classes that were dropped by others that held the spot, but didn’t confirm their attendance. These issues, while frustrating, are usually taken with a grain of salt by most of the student population, as if it’s a fact of life that has to be dealt with. In addition, the wi-fi on Ammerman campus that’s offered to students is generally slower than your regular cell phone reception, especially at peak hours during the day in certain buildings. If you’re accessing it from your phone, it’s also prone to drop. The school website states that service and bandwidth isn’t guaranteed campus wide.
Every semester students pay thousands of their hard earned dollars, or take loans, in order to be a student at Suffolk. Associated with their tuition are numerous fees, one of which is the “technology fee”. The school’s website offers the explanation for the fees as such: “The Technology Fee is a dedicated fee charged to students taking credit courses offered by the College. The fee is committed to fund technology and equipment; it is non-refundable on or after the first day of the session.” The technology fee is $80. Now take that $80, and multiply it by the 25 thousand students (on average) that are enrolled at SCCC. That’s two million dollars from the technology fee alone.
So why, if the school is making at least two million dollars on the technology fee per semester, averaging four million or more a year (not considering winter and summer sessions) is the service not upgraded? “You would think that after all these years of collecting these fees they add on, the school would have pumped some of this money into creating a more reliable website…I have spent hours of my busy days on line at registrar because the website has been down,” said Adam Matros, a part time student who has attended sporadically over the course of five years.
Hosting is not an expensive commodity nowadays. There are websites that offer hosting for websites, offering plans where a terabyte of bandwidth (1000 GB) cost roughly $1000 a year. The average page size of MySCCC is under 200 kb to load. If all 25,000 students tried to access at the same time, that’s roughly 5 GB of transfer. Do all 25,000 students ever try to access at the same second? Probably, most definitely not. It’s time for the school to address improvements in the website, and the wifi. They seem to have the resources allocated for this area, so why not use them?