Server problems affecting School of Communications ‘devastating’

Staff in the Henry Grattan building are desperately seeking a solution to server issues that are affecting students’ work.

Students in the School of Communications have been having major difficulties doing assignments in the three Mac labs since the beginning of semester two.

Administration and technical staff member Eoin Campbell told The College View that the school stopped using a Mac-based Spartan server in December last year. “A Windows-based server was adopted in January. After many tests, staff were satisfied that this newer server would work well,” he said.

The beginning of semester two in February saw media students experiencing extreme difficulties with Mac computers. Problems ranged from login issues, slow operations and file-saving difficulties. Many students have been unable to complete necessary practical assignments.

Campbell expressed his grief over the inconvenience that students are experiencing. “I have to say that it’s devastating for me. Our jobs here are for the students, and we have failed our job to the extent that students can’t work effectively.”

Staff are currently testing the recently-introduced server, which is proving to operate well. The problem, Campbell said, may lie elsewhere. “We’re just desperate to get a solution by Friday, the end of reading week, that works.”

The larger problem with the Information Systems & Services (ISS) lies with administration and investment, said Campbell. A dedicated administrative team or staff member is needed to ensure that server systems run smoothly, he added.

Continuous investment is also needed every five years to ensure that hardware and technologies run well, but financial restraints on the School of Communications are preventing these updates, he said.

The student cohort within the Henry Grattan building has a higher demand for Mac-based operating systems than other schools, Campbell said, considering that their projects require using desktop audio, video, and photography software.

Mac system changes will be carried out during Reading Week, a Journalism programme board meeting heard last Wednesday. Students may be required to connect to a shared account and save their files and projects to external hardware.

In the meantime, Campbell advised students to report issues with the server, networks, accounts or passwords to ISS through the online ticket system. He said that he and the School of Communications technical staff are willing to help students with any case-specific projects.

Rachel McLaughlin

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