Oasis use should be mandatory

By Editorial Board

Despite many students’ qualms about the structure and capability of Oasis, the foundation of the online system is strong. It is commonly used for things like class registration, academic support and viewing Student Financial Services records, but the system is also often used for classroom communication.

Oasis would benefit students much more if it were used by every teacher, but not all faculty utilize the system. Improvements could be made to the site’s logistics, but Oasis does not need to be completely changed or revamped.

It should be mandatory for professors to use Oasis, which would create consistency for students. At minimum, teachers should upload their course syllabus, course handouts and a list of the required textbooks. It is also helpful for students if teachers update grades, attendance and class notes.

Mandatory use of Oasis will provide students with electronic copies of syllabi and handouts if they are absent, lose their originals, or if teachers make changes to their syllabus, preventing the professor from having to redistribute the information to the student.

Teachers can also post messages on their class page to let students know if class is going to be cancelled or if the classroom moved. Keeping students updated about what’s going on in the class should be the central idea of Oasis.

Some teachers use other sites, such as Moodle or Near Time, to communicate with students. These sites may be more aesthetically pleasing, but they become two more on a long list that students must keep track of monitoring. It would be more beneficial for students to centralize classroom communication through the already-existing Oasis site.

Columbia already provides workshop sessions for new teachers to learn how to use Oasis. These efforts could be extended to any current professor who is unsure of how to utilize the system to make communication with students more efficient. The college could also provide instructions for students on how to navigate the site through e-mail instructions or a new student orientation program.