I find it highly ironic (or perhaps it is just bad luck) that Transworld Institute of Technology has no end to technological problems. It seems every time we have a meeting, a competition, a conference, or anything remotely important happening, there are technological problems.
Two years ago, we had some invited speakers, Dr. Clyde Warden and Dr. Christopher O’Brien, come and give presentations to our students. We were plagued with problems, namely getting the laptop and projector to work nicely so that we could view their presentations.
Just today, I was juding the 3rd Annual Transworld Speech Competition and the microphones were having some sort of horrible effect on the intercom system of the room. The speakers for the microphones were fine, but there was a horribly static coming through the intercoms during the entire 3 hours. It was slightly embarassing and very annoying.
Why is that when I go to other universities, things just work? Last semester I attended a conference at Yuntech. The venue was a computer lab with about 40 computers, including a head computer, projector, whiteboard, and other such fancy technology. At no point during the conference were there any sort of technological problems. We came in, we listened to several presentations, and all was well.
Last semester I was teaching a course at National Chung Cheng Univeristy (國立中正大學). My classroom was rather small, but it was fitted with a “smart cart” (a card loaded with a computer, dvd player, monitor, cd player, and far too many controls to count). This smart cart was the epitome of high technology and generally I’m wary of such things, as I tend to break them by pushing the wrong button. However, throughout the entire semester, the smart cart just worked. I could come into class, turn on the computer, turn on the projector, and give my lecture. No problems whatsoever. How can it be so hard for TIT to get a simple projector or microphone working?
I don’t like comparing TIT to other schools because, to be quite honest, TIT isn’t on the same level as those National Universities. Frankly, we should be striving to be better than them, but that’s neither here nor there. Those universities have much more money and, perhaps, have more and better technicians to deal with these problems and set the equipment up corretly. I believe TIT has a very small and overworked IT staff, so perhaps that is part of the problem.
But I guess it comes down to a more important issue: image. Today during the speech competition there were many high school students and their parents. These are potential recruits. Isn’t it in our best interest to make sure that the technology is working correctly in order to make a good impression? We might want those students to have a great impression of our school and a desire to attend our program when they graduate. Being plagued with technological problems isn’t, in my opinion, a very good advertisement for a technology school.
I don’t mean to ridicule TIT in any way, and I can certainly forgive the random technological error here and there. Things happen; stuff breaks; great technology often has greater problems. It just seems odd, though, that we have these kinds of problems every single time. Is there any hope for TIT to have a semester or year of successful conferences, competitions, and workshops without the technological headaches?