By Kelsey McKinney, Assistant Editor
During the first two days returning to classes, WLU’s campus, as well as many occupants in the greater Wheeling area, experienced a massive internet problem.
For almost two entire business days, the main buildings on campus lost internet when the provider, Frontier Communications, was experiencing technical difficulties.
Whether the cause of a replacement fiber-optic cable was due to the appetite of a squirrel or not, the issue of an unreliable network sent staff and faculty into a frenzy.
A single day without access to the internet brings up many questions about the complexities of how our lifestyle revolves around the world wide web.
Many students who attended class January 17 & 18 were made aware of the internet outage based of the behavior of their instructor; even a task as basic as taking roll could not be completed without an internet connection. Lessons based off resources via Sakai or online media were unreachable. A simple day without internet turned the most poised professors into a confused and irritated victim in front of their pupils.
Professor of special education Sarah Schimmel said, “I really did not realize how much I used the internet daily until the internet outage occurred. I was attempting to help a transfer student schedule and current students adjust their schedules. This was just a guessing game without the internet to know if classes had openings.” A guessing game it was for many professors and students. A day without the internet left many lost in every sense of the word.
Not only is classroom instruction disrupted with the elimination of the internet, but there are a vast amount of jobs on campus that relies on internet usage. For some, a full day’s work was lost without the internet.
Admissions Counselor Travis Hinkle reflected on how his duties as a counselor would be different without the luxuries of the internet. “My job would be different without internet for the purpose of communication with prospective students– who are in the ‘millennial’. They are more adapt by communicating to email and Facebook message rather than a phone call. Also, it would be much harder to find information, such as a high school contact information across the country.”
Hinkle brings up a very strong point. Besides the very important use of the internet for information, the web has changed the way every generation communicates. “If I didn’t have the internet I wouldn’t be able to communicate that well with my two older brothers who are in the military because they can’t always talk on the phone,” said sophomore Nick Wilson. “Also, I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with close friends from home as easy as I do now.”
It is almost unbelievable to see how a mere 12 hours without the internet brought an entire college campus into confusion. Our behavior and practices toward the internet bring about a stark question: Is “paperless” the way to go? This opens another can of worms, yet it is something many teachers and students should consider.
When an entire course relies on access to an entity; an intangible, unreliable item, there should be a back-up plan. Tomorrow is never promised for life in itself, let alone a good internet connection.
Should there be a concrete record of all the information we store online?