September 28, 2020

By ERIC MCKENZIE

The Angel drop box proved  to be far from heavenly this past exam period.

After a number of complaints about slow server times on the Conestoga website, the IT department will be contacting teachers in January to discuss alternatives to the drop box feature on the educational software.

The new drop box feature added this year on Angel, which allows students to upload assignments and projects for their classes, has been the major problem, said Mike Abraham, manager of the IT department at Conestoga.

“Some of those files are rather large so it ties up the server,” he said.

Many students found it difficult at the end of last semester to keep up-to-date on their grades going into exams and summative projects due to slow server times affecting the Student Portal as well.

“Not having feedback from my teachers and not knowing important marks, such as my mid-term mark, gave me no indication of how well I was doing in the course and therefore how much work I needed to put into the final,” said Adam Sawicki, a third-year business management student.

Sawicki suggested that the drop boxes should only be available to students for a two-day window and then two days off, to allow teachers, who have also been experiencing long waits, to get online and post grades during the busy exam weeks.

Another suggestion to alleviate the activity on the server would be to move the drop box feature to third-party software, said Abraham.

Since 2008, when Conestoga switched over from WebCT to Angel, there have been a number of upgrades and new software developed that could work as a third-party, such as My School Binder, Blackboard Learn and other online drop box sites.

The update could save a lot of time but could cost a lot of money, which could possibly be passed on to students through tuition increases or other incidental fees.

“We haven’t decided on anything yet but we are aware of the problem and are currently looking into it,” said Abraham.