There always seem to be some problems with students not able to login and access polytech computer services at the start of the year.

This year the Polytech decided to make the move to Windows Live as the new student email system at the last minute,  and this added an extra login, and more problems.

Then down the track, issues with our internet connection led to still more computer issues.

All of this contributes to a fairly rough ride for the affected students, and given that it’s known that frustration with dysfunctional computer technology is one of the biggest contributors to student frustration and poor retention rates (McQuillan, 2007),  I’m seriously considering being more independent of OP’s servers and technology platforms next year.

If I didn’t bother getting students to start using their Windows Live account, but instead allowed them to use the email address that they were already using then we would lose one technology hurdle and a whole lot of running around for me.   I’d lose Windows Spaces in the process (no big loss).  The students have to download MSN messenger themselves for it to be useful as part of the package, so I might as well get them to download skype which is my prefered messaging programme anyway.

If I take this approach, I’d only be dependent on the polytech servers for Elluminate and Blackboard (which we plan to gradually move away from anyway).

It seems to me that this would reduce complications from the students perspective, and reduce the amount of time that I have to spend on fire-fighting at the start of the course which will be good for my mental health.  🙂