Workday and the Rise of the Digital Campus
Has the digital renaissance altered the Furman experience irreversibly?
Our familiar software company friend has even infiltrated the dining hall.
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You’ve all probably heard of Workday by now, with all the promotional emails, pamphlets, frisbees, and labeled cookies flying around. If by some chance you haven’t, Workday is the new system Furman is using for class registration this coming semester. Workday is something student employees are already familiar with, and so far, it has proven to be a more efficient system than the one before it. I don’t know about you, but I found MyFurman to be clunky, inconvenient, and difficult to use. For many students and faculty the shift to a new system was a welcome one.
I say all of this not because I take any particular pleasure in discussing registration software, but rather because it is good to see Furman investing in ways to make our online lives a bit easier. Nowadays, we all spend a sizable portion of our day on a screen - for school, for work, and (especially) for entertainment. We browse Netflix to catch up on our favorite shows, and we peruse social media for little bursts of dopamine. We use Zoom, Moodle, Box, Google Docs, and more for our classes almost every day. We have LiveSafe to track our COVID-19 symptoms (to questionable success), and we have the GET app to order burrito bowls at Moes. All of these technological advancements are so intertwined with the way we live our lives that it’s hard to believe that we ever lived without them.
This digital “renaissance,” brought about by the inability to meet face-to-face, has altered the Furman experience, perhaps irreversibly. With Zoom, we can now opt to attend classes remotely, allowing students to attend virtually from their homes and allowing them to quarantine without getting far behind. CLPs and many other campus events are now online as well, letting us attend plays and lectures from the comfort of our own beds. Even The Paladin itself has transferred from print to a completely online format. Class documents are now transferred almost exclusively over Box or OneDrive instead of on sheets of paper. Digital media has taken over our academic world.
Is this uptick in technological mediums really for the better? On one hand, classes and CLPs on Zoom give students more flexibility, so that they can attend remotely when they are ill. On the other hand, an excessive amount of screen time has proven time and time again to be detrimental to anyone’s mental health. What can be said, however, is that there is no going back. Even after the pandemic has run its course, I don’t think that platforms like Zoom will go away so quickly. Having the online option is a beneficial choice for many students and professors. Therefore, it is necessary that Furman keeps on developing the mediums we have, so that the time we do spend on our screens is worthwhile. Transferring to Workday is just one example of this, but there are others. Investing in Headspace, for instance, to improve the student body’s mental health, is another. Some more could be using Kahoot, and other online game software to make online classes more engaging, or using Zoom breakout rooms for group work to encourage participation. Though Zoom is no replacement for face-to-face interaction, we can still use our technological mediums for worthwhile exchanges, whether they are for classes, clubs, or student events. If we have to spend so much of our day before our computers and phones, let’s at least make it as efficient, productive, and valuable as we can.