Big Disappointment with CIS Department!

January 30, 2010

THIS IS MY FIRST QUARTER AT DEANZA. I signed up for a CIS course to take advantage of the MSDN Academic Alliance program offered by Microsoft to college students. In November 2009, before registering, I emailed DeAnza to find out who the MSDN administrator is and to confirm the course requirement. Marie Taylor Harper identified herself as the MSDN person and stated that “The only courses eligible for this program are CIS classes and students are not given access to the software until after the add/drop period.”  The DeAnza CIS department website also clearly states the MSDN software eligibility: “must be a student currently enrolled in a CIS course. See link here: http://cis.deanza.edu/cis/overview.html

With this solid information, I signed up for CIS 094 and waited until the Add/Drop period to email Marie Taylor Harper about access to the MSDN software. She didn’t reply to my email for a whole week, so I sent her a reminder. Imagine my surprise when she made up a requirement like this:

“We don’t normally provide the MSDN software to students in the Introduction to the Internet and WWW class since this is not a programming class nor one that uses the software available through the MSDN agreement.  I’ll look into this and get back to you.”

Wow! Talking about changing rules in the middle of a game. And what a silly rule they make up to thwart learning: if accessibility to the software depends on specific classes in an MSDN-approved department then every quarter or semester during every academic year, Microsoft would have to review every individual class syllabus to determine which one is go and which one is no-go. How do they do that for hundreds of schools in their program? Plus, with her excuse, Marie Taylor Harper perverted the goals of the MSDN program by denying students opportunity to learn and be familiar with Microsoft software instead of promoting exposure to it which is what Microsoft desires. At other institutions, even when students take classes in Linux or Mac OS (competitors to Microsoft Windows), they can still get Microsoft MSDN software. After pointing out to Marie Taylor Harper that Foothill College clearly mentions at their website that ANY of their CTIS courses are eligible for the MSDN software, I received this don’t-give-a-damn email from Marie Taylor Harper:

“The policy is dependent upon the school — I’ll get back to you when I have an answer.”

I waited and waited for her response and even offered to contact whoever might know the answer and hear nothing back. As of today, I still don’t have access to the software. What does it take to get a response from Marie Taylor Harper??? 

But the days of unaccountability is over. If you work in an educational environment and, instead of facilitating access to learning resources, you exhibit an obstructionist attitude, ever ready to throw obstacles in the learning path of students then you will be exposed.
Especially, when the public finance your paychecks, you are expected to serve the community. Your job is not a fiefdom where you can make up senseless rules and dole out academic resources according to your whim.

I was going to send this complaint to the President of DeAnza College, Brian Murphy, and the Chair of the CIS Department, Cynthia Lee-Klawender. But the Dean of the Business and Computer Systems Division, Ron McFarland, already contacted me after seeing my placeholder post at this website. So as a courtesy to Ron McFarland, I am going to wait to see how he deals with this problem before involving additional people.

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2 Responses to “Big Disappointment with CIS Department!”

  1. Thanks for the clarification on what you’re disappointed about.

    I can appreciate what you’re speaking of. Let me add a bit of information to your note that may help to clarify things from DeAnza’s perspective. As noted from the agreement: “students enrolled in any CTIS class can acquire selected Microsoft software” (note on the “selected”). The software is selected by each individual course and the agreement with MSDN is written up based on the licenses needed for each class. MSDN requires us to limit access, unless we pay additionally for broader access to the campus-wide community. So, from this additional detail, we (DeAnza) need to limit our distribution based on which course the student is enrolled in. It boils down to a budget issue where we need to narrow down the licensing agreement based on dollars available. As I’m sure you’ve seen in the newspapers, the budget squeeze is hitting all of California’s community colleges hard. At DeAnza, we’ve had to undergo lay-offs, so keeping the budget limited in regards to downloads by course helps us maintain the economic viability of what we’re faced with at DeAnza. I hope this extra element adds a bit more clarification as to why the MSDN access is limited by course. Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this. Thanks, Ron

  2. bobnate13 said

    So Dude – are you taking a class to taking a class to take advantage of MSDN – What is MSDN? What are you talking about? Why are you so pissed off?

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