Transfer of tech support raises concerns at NSCAD

Multimedia centre changes leave some students feeling neglected

What used to be the Multimedia Centre at NSCAD’s Fountain campus. Photo: Victoria Kristofic

What used to be the multimedia centre at the NSCAD Fountain Campus is now home to a few couches, chairs and construction material.

The centre was closed in September and the help desk and equipment was moved to the Academy building on Brunswick Street.

The Fountain multimedia centre used to hold multimedia equipment for students to rent out and was a convenient and accessible printing station.

Brittany Hall, a third-year design student, said the most valuable aspect of the multimedia centre for design students was the availability of technicians  for technical support. Whenever there were problems with the computers or students didn’t know how to use a program, the technicians were around the corner and available to help.

While the Academy building is home to the film department, with its heavier users of multimedia equipment, Hall said the design students still need the technical support.

Brittany Hall shows one of the programs the design students use. Photo: Deborah Oomen
Brittany Hall shows one of the programs the design students use. Photo: Deborah Oomen

It’s not just students who are noticing the absence of the on-campus technicians. In a web design class, Hall recalls her professor not being able to get the projector to work, making it impossible to give the planned the lecture.

“He had to just do a tutorial instead because he couldn’t figure it out and no one could come from the Academy building” said Hall.

“Normally you would just go into the next room and ask someone to help you fix it.”

A member of the design faculty, who has asked to remain unnamed for reasons of collegiality, said the decision was made during the summer and both students and faculty were caught off guard. The decision was implemented in the midst of outgoing and incoming presidents of the university.

“The faculty has tried to roll back some of the decisions that were made this summer, and are trying to accommodate the best we can for the students,” said the design faculty member. “We’re not pleased about it either. But we’re also running a massive deficit and we’re trying to be patient as we figure out how to find ways to cut cost and keep our level of service.”

NSCAD’s communications office did not return calls to comment.

The former Multimedia Centre. Photo: Victoria Kristofic

The faculty member said that the university in general is having to make difficult decisions across the board. In July, outgoing president Daniel O’Brien estimated the university’s debt at roughly $13 million.

“The people who make these decisions… they’re not students, they’re not teachers,” said Hall. “I feel like they don’t ask what the students want or what the teachers need.”

The Academy building’s multimedia centre refused to comment.




2 thoughts on “Transfer of tech support raises concerns at NSCAD

  1. This is really a shame especially in this day and age where technology is so important if every aspect of the design process and in education.

  2. Interesting fiction, but none of this ever happened!

    Multimedia moved to the Academy building two years ago. The purpose was to create a media hub at the newly rennovated building and to vacate the space in the picture for upgrading. The space was staffed last year by one technician who was preparing to retire so that he wouldn’t have to move and so that the University could still charge for printouts to help pay for a Xerox machine that was nearing the end of its lease.

    Whoever took this picture was standing almost in front of a new Ricoh printer that is setup to offer free printing, copying and scanning for faculty and students at extended hours.

    Prior to this year, the space was locked down every night behind a combination door. This was a source of immense frustration for students because this was one of the only hallways connecting North block to the rest of Fountain campus. This has now been opened up and the printer lives behind a staff/student swipe card door for easy access.

    The space is clearly under rennovation and the back door in the picture is a new office for Computer Services, the one beside it is a new office for Multimedia and on the left behind the ladders is a new Multimedia storage room.

    Other than the retiree, who has now left, Multimedia has a director and three technicians who cycle through offices at the three campuses in the same fashion as they have the last three years. There has been no change to technician service at the Fountain campus.

    In short, the tech in this area is being upgraded, new work spaces for students have been added, the throughway to North block has been opened up and printing will now be free with extended hours available.

    None of the statements in this article are true nor were any of those things ever part of any plan. This was purely the perception of someone who snapped a picture and accepted a little negative conjecture because it was easier than digging for the facts about what was really happening.

    Tim MacInnes
    Director, Computer Services
    NSCAD University

Comments are closed.