If you’re an entering freshman, being familiar with technology and internet is important, especially in this day and age. The internet is your gateway to the world even when you’re within the Wesleyan bubble, but it can have both it’s limitations and it’s advantages. It can only help to learn these as quickly as possible.
The first thing you should know: WesTech. It refers to “staff members work in partnership with students, faculty and academic and administrative staff to incorporate the latest and most efficient technology into teaching and learning,” you might think. No, that’s ITS and how they describe themselves. Here’s what our Wes Lingo post says about WesTech:
WesTech is a word that will pop up every once in a while (via the ACB): “WesTech refers to everyone not DKE/Beta or mostly the ‘very Wesleyan’ population. It comes from the idea that Wesleyan has unattractive girls and bad sports and thus might as well be a technical school: WesTech.” Apparently, however, this is a term used mainly by other schools to make fun of Wesleyan, and has been appropriated by the sports teams as a label of pride (sports teams doing the ironic appropriation? Only at Wesleyan). A Techie was a term generally used by athletes to describe a “typical” Wesleyan student (artsy), or a “Techie.”
Now that you know what it means, this is required viewing: WesTech State of Mind.
[UPDATE: Library section added.]
Okay, let’s start off very appropriately with the ACB. You’ll probably find out what the ACB is soon enough if you haven’t already, and if you’re already a regular kudos to you – you’ve entered what seems to be a very popular Wes pastime. Some admit to posting or at least reading the ACB regularly, but others keep it a shameful secret. The truth is, every student on campus has been there at least once or twice. ACB stands for Anonymous Confession Board and can be used for everything from dishing dirt to asking questions about things you’re not sure of to engaging in scholarly discourse. It really depends on how you use it. The Wesleyan ACB, like many others, is hosted on collegeacb.com, which in turn is owned by Wesleyan’s own Peter Frank ’12. It turns out you can even access the WesACB even easier: directly at wesacb.com. It turns out a lot of people still just come to Wesleying and click the link in the sidebar though. Note that the ACB should come with a disclaimer: it’s not necessarily the best representation of the Wesleyan community.
[Please not that part of this post has been redacted upon request.]
It’s important to stay up-to-date on what’s been going on around campus. Don’t be fooled – Wesleyan might only have under 3,000 undergrads, but it’s quite a happening place. There’s several official and unofficial news sources to tell you about what’s already happened and what will happen. Personally, I use an RSS reader called Feedly to keep track of all my online news/blog reading. Here’s the Wes sources listed in my Feedly account:
- Your Class Blog can contain important updates or interesting opportunities from your Class Dean. Even if you don’t always read it, you should keep an eye out for any important updates posted on it, although most important things will get emailed to you.
- Roth on Wesleyan is President Roth’s outreach to the Wesleyan community, where he occasionally posts his Wes-related observations and encounters. With this and your class blog, just remember that Ms. Frizzle isn’t there handing out letters to your parents anymore. You’ll get emails, but ultimately t’s up to you to stay up-to-date with deadlines and the like.
- The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Blog tells of what the WSA has accomplished and how this affects you. If you’re into accountability especially, read it.
- WesLive is essentially the university administration’s reaction to Wesleying.
- The Wesleyan Argus is the online edition of the official school newspaper, which publishes biweekly.
- AuralWes is an independent blog, unaffiliated with the university that keeps track of “upcoming shows, concerts, festivals and other student-run, music-related events on campus.”
- Wesleying, last but not least, is a 100% student-run and student-generated blog about all things Wesleyan – what goes on at Wes, what Wes students are doing, what Wes students care about. We’re not in any way affiliated with the university. We feature news, commentary, events, and random shit.
You can also use WesFeed, an RSS reader widget for PC and Mac, also available as an iPhone webapp. The Student Portfolio custom pages also use RSS feeds. You can add more feeds by clicking ‘Add Stuff’ under the panaroma picture. You can also follow many of these sources, such as Wesleying, via social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
ITS & Internet
When trying to access these services or other members of the World Wide Web, you might encounter issues. That brings us back to Information Technology Services (ITS). ITS maintains the internet connection, the computer labs, and lots of other technology related things at Wes – be thankful for these people. You can follow ITS on Twitter @wes_itsinfo.
- ResNet is the “Wesleyan residential computer network” which connects most housing to the greater Wesleyan network. Very important for frosh: you will need an ethernet cable to connect to ResNet and register the first time they connect. Read more at the ITS ResNet page.
- AirWes is the Wesleyan wireless wireless network, which you can connect to after registering on ResNet (the Wes is actually a suffix here!). AirWes comes in both the normal non-encrypted and the WPA-encrypted brands. Mac users are prompted to simply sign in each time they want to access the internet, whereas Windows users are subjected to dealing with some atrocious application called Cisco Clean Access (there’s little Linux love on the ITS site, they seem to mention mainly Mac and Windows). Read more about this on ITS’s Wesleyan Wireless Network page.
A complaint I’ve always had is the internet connection at Wesleyan, wired or wireless, is much too slow. In the dorms, streaming a movie or tv show can be choppy and you can forget about an iChat video chat sometimes. I don’t know how widespread this is, but that was my experience all over the Butts last year. I usually got 1 or 2 Mbps according to speed tests. At least it get’s better at night time – as of February 2010, bandwidth jumps from 130 to 200 megabytes between 8pm and 6am. Still, I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one happier if ITS somehow managed to increase our bandwidth substantially, day and night.
Thankfully we use Google Apps, which provides everyone with essentially a modified version of Google’s GMail, Calendar, Docs, and Pages. Many people, like Wes in the past, have to deal with crappy school based systems with limited functionality or aesthetic. It would be impossible to cover all the capabilities of these services, but I’d recommend reading the Google Apps Help whenever you don’t know how to do something or in general want to streamline something. Otherwise, GMail and the like are popular so there’s a lot of sites and pages out there that tell of tweaks and other how-tos you might be interested in.
Moodle, as of this year, is supposed to be our classroom organizing software. You can see who else is in the course, view documents uploaded by your professor, view grades, participate in forums, view video of class when applicable, etc. Wesleyan has used mostly BlackBoard until this approaching academic year, which will be a transition year to Moodle if all holds true. Upperclassmen and freshmen alike could benefit from this tour of Moodle, though intended for instructors.
Even in 2010 with resources like Google and, dare I say, Wikipedia, libraries are still important hubs of information. Rather than let themselves fall behind, libraries today have evolved to include several electronic resources. To get through these next four years, you’re going to have to know how to use the online resources of the Wesleyan library.
While most professors just post whatever readings you need on BlackBoard/Moodle, many use E-Res, short for the Electronic Reserves. If you have reading on the syllabus that’s not from a book and isn’t uploaded on BlackBoard/Moodle, check E-Res before you admit you were daydreaming during the first class. It’s not that hard to use E-Res, though some of us find it confusing at first. After you go to the library site at http://www.wesleyan.edu/library, click E-Res on the left hand side under Course Reserves (above About the Libraries). Once you’re there, it’s only a matter of finding the course. The easiest way is to click the right tab to find ‘Course Reseve Pages by Instructor‘. Clicking this leads to a drop-down menu, where you select whatever your professor’s name is. The courses ze uses E-Res for will appear. Now, click the Course Code for your class and then enter the password when prompted. The password for almost every single class is exactly that course code (i.e. the course WSLN101 would have the password WSLN101). If that’s not the password, then check your syllabus. There you’ll be presented with a list of files, mostly PDFs, usually organized alphabetically by author. Click the files you’ll need for that week and voilà, they should download immediately. Il est facile, n’est-ce pas?
The other aspect of the library’s online home you should be familiar with is mainly for research. Your average Google search won’t cut it. At the library’s homepage, the most prominent feature, on the top left, is ‘Search Resources’. If you’re searching for scholarly articles, this is where to go. Click the Articles tab and do a keyword search in databases like AcademicOneFile. These are resources that if I’m not mistaken the university pays a lot for – use them. You can also search through the Catalog to find books at the Wesleyan Library. If the book you want isn’t there, you should search the CTW consortium, a ConnColl-Trinity-Wes collaboration to loan books to one another when needed. If that still doesn’t yield your book, try WorldCat. I strongly recommend the library tour during orientation, especially since I didn’t take it.
For more Wesleyan related internet sources, go to the sidebar on any Wesleying page and see Links. Click the categories to drop down the individual links.
Add suggestions and/or questions in the comments.