Students left out

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By Emma Prestwich

For most students, access to online university resources is as easy as logging onto their my.ryerson account. But George Brown College students in the collaborative early childhood education (ECE) program don’t have that luxury. They’re not given a Ryerson online identity.

These students do have wireless access in the Sally Horsfall Eaton centre, but only if they stay on the sixth floor or in the study area on the fifth floor.

“There’s too much technicality,” said Emiline Evangelista, a first-year student in the ECE diploma program.

George Brown students taking the early childhood education diploma program at Ryerson are given a joint Ryerson/George Brown OneCard, which gives them access to Ryerson services like book-borrowing and printing in the Academic Resource Centre.

But they can’t access online databases or the wireless network.

Brian Lesser, acting director of Campus Computer Services (CCS), said he has never received a formal request from Ryerson to grant wireless access to George Brown students.

“I don’t think it would be terribly difficult for us to provide access [for them],” he said.

“It would just take us a little time — a month or two — to set it up. There would also be an incremental bandwidth cost to us in increased web traffic.”

He said George Brown students don’t have an online identity because they don’t use any information technology services, but if the two institutions made an agreement, CCS would set up wireless.

“It’s not like moving a big mountain or anything,” said Lesser.

For Lisa Veber, a first-year ECE student, the lack of online accessibility posed even greater problems. Veber was told to go through Ryerson instead of George Brown to fill out her OSAP contract. But when she went to set up an appointment, she was asked for a my.ryerson login. She found the whole process confusing, and wasn’t able to get any help, she said.

Even something as simple as borrowing a book can be complicated for George Brown students. First-year ECE student Meghan Rose, said when she went to the library, the representative was confused by her Ryerson/George Brown student card and had to create a special file for her.

“They don’t understand that we exist,” said Rose.

Other George Brown students say they’re not given enough information on how to use the Ryerson resources available to them.

Currently, the only study space for George Brown students on campus is the Academic Resource Centre on the sixth floor of the Sally Horsfall Eaton building.

But the space consists of only one room with 27 computers accessible to those with a George Brown ID and six computers reserved for those with a my.ryerson account.

Even this limited space isn’t entirely theirs though, according to first-year student Elizabeth, who declined to give her last name. She said that, during busy periods, Ryerson students come in and use the centre because their login gives them access to the George Brown computers.

“They’re George Brown students who pay their tuition to George Brown and that’s their home site,” said Linda Cooper, Interim Associate Director Collaborative Degree Program.

“When they are third and fourth-year students they pay tuition to Ryerson and are registered Ryerson students. Then they have access to all the facilities.”

Photo: Lindsay Boeckl

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