While the Barbados Community College (BCC) has been commended for introducing WiFi to its students and staff members, that institution has been urged to reflect on a number of questions.
The WiFi network, which was launched today at the College’s Eyrie headquarters, was developed in collaboration with Regional Business Systems.
Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, in his address at the official launch of the BCC’s campus-wide network, noted that while a library may provide access to kindles and other tablets one had to consider whether these would make the students more responsive, likely to assimilate more information, or even make them better individuals.
“These are only tools,” he said, as he queried: “But is it going to improve your productivity, [or] make students more responsive? Are we going to get a total change of attitude towards learning or teaching?”
Stating that this was what was important when such tools were made available, he noted: “WiFi and a campus-wide network, those are tools…if nothing else [they are] 20th and 21st century tools to make the evolution of man better. We can source information from any part of the globe and we can use it to change our lives and the lives of people.
“We can have all the applications and all the productivity tools…You can have the world’s latest software…the best website…but is it going to be up-to-date? Is there going to be a commensurate increase in your output? Is it going to change your whole mood and attitude to make things better?”
As he noted that the $1.2 million project came in on budget, Mr. Jones appealed to the BCC to encourage students to use it well and “to protect the investment and its infrastructure”.
Chief Executive Officer of Regional Business Systems, Sharon Christie, in complimenting the BCC, said they worked closely with business partner Cisco Systems Inc. to design and implement a state-of-the-art wide area network, a combination of fibre and secure wireless networks.
Explaining the objective of the project, she said: “This infrastructure supports the applications used by the administrative staff and students. It gives them the benefit of being able to stay connected to the network while they move around the campus or around BCC Hospitality Institute and the Higher Education Development Unit with their mobile devices.”
The new technology infrastructure will allow for a seamless linkage between the BCC’s two campus sites at Eyrie, St. Michael and the Hospitality Institute at Hastings, Christ Church. It will also provide for a homogenous, structured network that will allow campus-wide access by staff to centralised information.