State is Not Your Parents' University
Students arent yet arriving in flying cars, but new technology
has brought some major changes to everyday life at Sac State. With online
classes, book ordering and library databases, todays student has
faster access to information than could have been imagined
just a decade ago.
are also more mobile, with seemingly every hand connected to a cell phone,
pager or digital organizer. And theyre less likely to be stuck in
line, with phone and data line connections fast replacing walk-up windows.
With a password, a students
academic records are as close as Amazon.com.
Consider student Ericka Anglin. She and others like her have caused a
big drop in the need for index cards, pockets full of copying machine
change and even micro-fiche. The 20-year-old business major does much
of her research online.
hardly ever gone inside the library building, Anglin says. I
do all my research from one of the computers on campus.
The University Librarys online service has made that possible for
many students. It provides access to thousands of full-text journals and
popular press publications, in databases such as Lexis-Nexis.
Things are sure different, muses Larry Augusta, a 1962 graduate.
I remember we were just getting good typewriters
I had a
very serviceable manual Smith-Corona, but the problem was manual typewriters
didnt produce uniform copy.
now an assistant chief counsel with the State Board of Equalization and
president-elect of the CSUS Alumni Association, remembers trying to borrow
a better typewriter and struggling withstate-of-the-art correction tape
and erasable bond paper.
My, what a lot of grief a simple word processor would have saved
me," he says.
Todays students also have online access to academic records, evaluations
of their progress toward graduation and more through a computerized system
called CasperWeb. That same system allows professors to turn in grades,
which one professor recently accomplished from France.
student Eric Guerra, 22, says CasperWeb is far better than the automated
phone systemthe one that saved students from the pandemonium of
I like to see it all in front of me, all of my academic information
right there, Guerra says. One thing thats really goodI
can make sure I didnt punch the wrong number on the phone and end
up with a ballet class rather than calculus.
As an engineering student, Guerra sees much of the worlds best technology
as soon as it becomes available.
Hewlett-Packard, Intel and other hightech companies are constantly investingin
their future employees, making contributions of equipment and staff expertise
to engineering and computer programs. And Riverside Hall, which houses
the College of Engineering and Computer Science, is equipped to provide
fast, wireless computer access to laptops in its interior.
Other students are taking entire classes online.
Sac States Web-based class listing has grown rapidly since the first
online class was offered in fall 1997. Theres now more than 30 Webbased
classes enrolling about 1,000 students each semester. And more than 150
other classes meet each semester in traditional classrooms but have websites
featuring interactive quizzes and presentations.
Surprisingly, senior faculty members seem particularly interested in developing
online courses, according to Rose Leigh Vines, director of distance and
distributed education. Another surprisestudents who take Web-based
courses live close to campus, work, and otherwise resemble the average
All this campus technology combined with better and cheaper personal communication
gadgets have made many students into star multi-taskers.
Pagers, cell phones, e-mail, I cant live without any of it,
says Anglin, who is a full-time student, directs the Student Access Center
and is involved with student government.
If it werent for my cell phone, e-mail and message phone,
theres no way I could do it all, agrees Guerra. He also works,
is involved in student government and plays in a traditional Latin American
band. All the technology helps you get the most out of the little
time you have.
Theres some concern, of course, that the technology might take away
some important human contact. When students register and buy books online,
and even tour the campus on the Web, it can be easy to forget about real
And, as so many alumni point out, real people make the Sac State experience
memorable. Fortunately, professors have shown a strong commitment to giving
current students the same experience Augusta remembers so fondly.
I had professors who were very interested in students and their
lives, and I would visit them and get to know them very well, Augusta
says. They were always accessible. That was something that was so
great about Sac State.