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Letter to the editor: On Blackboard, wichita.edu

Johnna Crawford

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Wichita State has awesome athletics programs, a remodeled Rhatigan Student Center, fancy rolling-chair-desk-things and water fountains made for water bottles. So, why is our web presence worse than the first version of MySpace? 

Hello, Shockers. What is up with wichita.edu and Blackboard? More importantly, why have they not worked correctly in the decade that I’ve been here? It is time for WSU online to be redone before I come undone. 

First of all, I didn’t get the schedule of when our online sites work. Did anyone else get the schedule? Sometimes our websites work on campus, sometimes they don’t.

Occasionally the sites work on my phone and rarely on my iPad. Often, wichita.edu and Blackboard do not work when I am trying to teach and actually use the tools.

Repeatedly, my class and I are redirected, given an error page or told the site is down for maintenance. I’ve got the maintenance page so many times that I’ve started to believe the problem might be the maintenance. If I had a car that needed that much maintenance, I’d be buying a bike. 

Second is the number of options. Lord, the options. There are so many options on MyWSU and Blackboard that I forget what it is I’m doing by the time the pages finally load, if they load. 

There are numerous tabs that I have never used and will never use. Plus, things are categorized strangely on Blackboard. Whenever I go to send my class a group email the tab is alphabetized not under “E” for “email,” but under “S” for “send email,” which seems odd. 

I have been a Shocker so long that I was here before “Millie” the millipede. My favorite parking space now has a dorm on top of it and vending machines used to only take cash. WSU has taken great strides to make positive changes, and I will stay here for my degrees even if I do have to look up my schedule using Morse code. I just wish I didn’t have to. 

Maybe the guys who remodeled the RSC could take a look at our online world, too. Blackboard shouldn’t remind us of a one-room school and chalk dust. It should never state “unavailable,” and it shouldn’t be as overwhelming as Costco. 

Students need their school websites. We use them daily and we’d like them to be simple and accessible. Every Shocker has had an issue online and can explain their frustrations. 

Instead of just “fixing” the “problems,” I hope WSU can soon acknowledge the importance of working websites and then reimagine the concepts and designs. Most of WSU has already been remodeled; now for the love of Ron Baker, give us some websites that work. 

— Johnna Crawford, Gradutate Teaching Assistant

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