2009/365/60: Downed by Paperwork 1

2009/365/60: Downed by Paperwork, originally uploaded by cogdogblog.

Alan Levine writes:

In valiant attempts to get campus wireless access for me at Baylor, Gardner went to the extremes to work the channels.

I had to provide my home address, phone number, forms were faxed, we went to the IT office, phone calls were made to various corners of the IT org chart, I showed by driver’s license and signed more forms…. and the system would still not authenticate the credentials they provided. I offered a pint of blood and my grandmother’s maiden name, to no avail.

It may sound like it, but am not b***ing. A woman in the IT office was very gracious, apologetic and tried everything she could (as a relayer of paperwork).

But come on, network access should never be such a hurdle, should it? Almost every commercial access point can figure out who I am (and take my money) online. Academic networks that require faxes and paperwork are in the wrong century.


One thought on “2009/365/60: Downed by Paperwork

  • Gardner Campbell

    Yes, it was a bit of a struggle. 🙂 Both Alan and I were a wee bit frustrated, obviously.

    But in the to-be-fair department, struggling with guest access is not at all uncommon for college and university IT departments. The biggest problem, of course, is that schools are sitting on a vast and extraordinarily sensitive data set. At some happy point in the future, schools won’t warehouse that data. Students (or their parents./guardians) will be their own data custodians. Jon Udell is very eloquent on this future scenario, which cuts across health, higher ed, and many other social sectors.

    In the meantime, there are certain useful measures that can and should be implemented, including some variety of self-service, limited-access guest privileges. A goal to be worked toward sooner rather than later, to be sure.

    And it could always be worse–in the part of Alan’s post you didn’t quote, he points to a “request for permission to innovate” form that one Australian school has devised. Higher ed has no lack of such ironies on offer!

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