IT Department gathering student feedback for future tech upgrades


GVL / Max Ritchie

Jacob DeWeerd, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University Information Technology department is gathering student feedback on the state of technology at GVSU. Feedback provided by students will help the IT department formulate a plan for future technology upgrades. 

The IT department gained valuable insight on which technology is satisfying students, and which technology could use some improvements following an event they hosted on Sept. 27. as well as a survey sent out to GVSU students. 

Associate Vice President for IT Emil Delgado said the event was a success, and that valuable feedback was received from almost 200 student attendees. Many of the issues brought up were related to what the IT department is already working on.

“There were some pain points that we already knew existed and that we could address – printing locations, some things with mobile apps and cleaning up some of that experience,” Delgado said. “And there was Blackboard. We put out a feeler to see what you would like to see in the next learning management system.”

Delgado said certain areas of frustration, including problems with printing, are being examined more closely to find out exactly what could be improved.

“The issue with printing was more location-based,” Delgado said. “Where is the right place? Is it resident halls they’re looking for, or just something closer? Or is it the labs that are just not available during the times when people want to print?”

Feedback was not strictly related to areas of frustration. Students spoke highly about the technology available in on-campus labs and the convenience of having a single username and password to log into labs and the many online services offered by GVSU.

One idea for future technology at GVSU is the potential for a centralized mobile information experience that contains myriad resources, some of which could be specific to the student using it, Delgado said. Currently, GVSU offers several mobile apps like myGV, GVSU Laker Mobile, and myBlueLaker that all have different purposes.

“The feedback was that there are too many mobile apps,” Delgado said. 

Delgado hypothesized about what a more tailored mobile information experience might look like. The potential for an app or website that contains information specific to students’ majors, living centers, or extracurricular activities is real and could make it much easier for students to quickly find information relative to their daily needs.

“GVSU is a larger space with multiple campuses and centers, but what if the experience could be customized to you?” Delgado said. “If you’re in Seidman, maybe the background information is things that are happening in Allendale or another section of campus, but your primary information is where you get the most important stuff. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”

While no more in-person events are planned, the IT department is going to continue in its collection of student feedback related to the technology at GVSU. That feedback will allow the department to identify areas of improvement, track problems, and find new ways to satisfy students’ technological needs. 

“We need your feedback, and we are looking for more opportunities for students to provide it,” Delgado said. “That may be a place where you can freely go and let us know. We also just put out a new service portal at where you can submit tickets, see a service catalog, and let us know about some of those challenges that students mentioned.”

On a personal level, Delgado wants to see upgrades in the ways students are using technology in their daily lives. He emphasized the convenience of using technology already in students’ possession in new and more useful ways.

“Maybe it’s using your phone to swipe into your dorm or residence hall, or not having to pull out your ID card because your meal plan is already somewhere you can access it,” Delgado said. “I want to see things that make your life easier, and the experience memorable.”