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Good policy requires knowing your students

By: Michael Power

Sometimes it seems like the college doesn’t understand its students. The way that our generation lives is incongruent with some of the ways that the college operates.

One of the most egregious examples of this is that while more and more of our classes require the use of online tools like Blackboard, it doesn’t seem to work when you need it to.

Every day from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., also known as prime study time, blackboard is taken offline for what ITS Senior Project Manager Daivd Loignon calls “database maintenance, database back up and general clean up.”

Perhaps the 3 a.m. cut off should act as an incentive to get work done early and not stay up late working on things at the last minute. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for every student.

Here is just one example: Take a student who is on campus most of the day and who then has to work until late at night, say at a bar that doesn’t stop serving until 2 a.m. If that student doesn’t get home from work until 3 a.m. what is that student supposed to do?

Waiting until 4 a.m. for Blackboard to come back online just messes up their sleep cycle even more and could further impede that student’s studies.

Furthermore, since Oct. 1 the college no longer accepts credit cards as a method of payment for full-time student tuition. There was very little notice given to students about this change despite the fact that it could potentially jeopardize the educational success of countless students.

Some students rely on their credit card to pay for their education because they can pay down their debt that way. There may be better ways to loan money for your education, but who is the college to tell us how to pay for our education.

Any business that accepts credit cards pays a fee, usually between two and four per cent of the sale, to the credit card company.

Moreover, it then takes up to a month for the credit card company to transfer the money to the merchant.

It’s a little bit ironic to see the Students’ Association claim a human rights violation for slightly more expensive bus passes and then let an issue like this slide by the wayside.

This is but one example of how this daily outage is a problem for Algonquin students.

If a daily outage is truly necessary, why not make it for the hour starting at four or five in the morning instead, so that those students who choose to be night owls, and those who are compelled to be so, can get some work done.


  • John

    So….23 hours a day of Blackboard access is not enough? What about those who prefer to get up early and want to access Blackboard from 4am to 5am or from 5am to 6am?
    There is no perfect time to shutdown access, but 3am seems pretty reasonable.
    As for credit cards….that is a bad way to pay for tuition. Try a line of credit – interest rate is lower. And if you must use credit, then take a cash advance off the card. I heard the college is trying to save several hundred thousand dollars in card fees. Guess who pays for those in the long run? Keeping fees down, keeps OUR fees down……

  • Will from RU

    Blackboard being available for 23 hours a day is not up to today’s standard. Better sites will run them out of business soon enough(CAPITALISM). They really should just shut down for one hour each week like most decent sites that need to perform maintenance.

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