Revolutions aren’t easy. At Harvard Law School, the electronic revolution has been particularly difficult. The administration’s heart is in the right place. It knows that it’s time to enter the 21st Century, but it’s taken a while for administrators to figure out the right way to move forward.
Case in point: the registration process. While the process has been made easier with online bidding, the administration failed to bring the project to its proper completion by moving the add/drop process online. Aside from the insanity of having to activate wait-list numbers in the first place, why do we have to fill out little bubble forms to do it? The process could be done using basically the same program as online bidding and save the school the expense of having to buy all of those golf pencils.
At some point the faculty must have been told that the wave of the future included a website hosted by Blackboard. The problem, it seems, is that professors weren’t exactly sure what they were supposed to put on the site. While some professors have taken advantage of the site’s capabilities, many have left their students with a website that has little more than a syllabus and a copy of their office hours.
The school knew that students were seriously unhappy with the quality of OpenMail 6.0, so they undertook a project to redesign the program. The result was the much anticipated and even more hyped OpenMail 6 Redux. The elimination of the indecipherable symbols of version 6.0 was a major improvement, but it came at the price of functionality. Deleting a message takes the user to a confirmation screen, which only offers the student the option of returning to her inbox to find her next unread message. If you mistakenly delete a message while in OpenMail, forget about recovering it to your inbox. You can read it in your trash can, but it’s going to stay there.
When the school does decide it’s time to move ahead, administrator’s attempts are often a bit unrealistic. To discourage reliance on the paper version of The Advisor, they cut down on the number of copies printed. Instead of flocking to the web version, students just steered away from The Advisor. That’s hardly surprising considering that the online version is just a minimally formatted web page that seems to go on forever. Printing out the November 8 edition will leave you with a nearly unreadable twenty-two pages.
One place where the school has made advances is in its mass email policy. The decision to combine the barrage of daily emails into one daily “flashmod” was nothing short of genius. Unfortunately, the worst spammer of them all has somehow managed to work around flashmod and continues to flood students with emails daily. Some students may need up-to-the-minute updates on when the OCS website last crashed. Speaking for the rest, the RECORD would choose to opt-out of the electronic onslaught from OCS.