When it comes to change, Cal Poly can be slow. When it comes to utilizing ridiculously fast networks that enhance learning through collaboration, Cal Poly is really slow.
The response to Cal Poly joining the Internet2 consortium has been, as computer science professor Franz Kurfess said, “moderate.” When the university is spending $30,000 per year to be an Internet2 member, you would think we’d be using it more than moderately.
Imagine if you were taking a chemistry class and you could use remote instruments like microscopes at other campuses that Cal Poly might not have. If you were a music major, wouldn’t it be great to have a master class with a renowned musician that can’t make it out to San Luis Obispo? If you were in a debate class, wouldn’t it be cool to debate with another school in real time?
More than 200 universities are part of the Internet2 consortium, meaning that there are over 200 schools that we could be sharing knowledge with every day in every department.
If we actually wanted to use Internet2 on this scale tomorrow, however, Cal Poly wouldn’t be ready – there are only two videoconference rooms available for Internet2 activities like guest lectures. There has never been a demand for more than that.
Many Cal Poly professors have a full workload as it is and don’t have time to set up videoconferences and guest lectures. But is that really the issue? If you really wanted to do something that you knew would enhance learning for your students and cost you nothing, wouldn’t you take the extra time to do it? We’d like to think so.
It’s Economics 101: you show the demand, the school will respond with the supply. As there is barely any demand whatsoever from any department aside from the animal science, the supply remains “moderate.” Unless, of course, you respond.
Some of the bigger reasons as to why Cal Poly hasn’t seen greater use of Internet2 are because some of our faculty are either afraid to use new technologies or are completely unaware of it. It’s up to the students to convince the professors that they want these new ways of learning and want to collaborate with other schools. Then it’s up to the professors to actually deliver.
We are connected to the fastest network in the world. Let’s use it.
Editorials reflect the opinion of the Mustang Daily editorial staff.