BCC websites back in business

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: After being down for several hours, all of Bergen Community College’s web links are fully functional. It’s unclear what went wrong, but visitors couldn’t access the links, on what is the last day of the semester, when an avalanche of students are trying to check their grades, submit assignments, etc.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot


The college went without a fully functional site for several days earlier this month after the administration abruptly cancelled its contract for online services and information technology.

BCC administrators pulled the plug on the contract with SunGard Higher Education on Nov. 30, the same day that faculty members dismissed a censure of college President G. Jeremiah Ryan proposed by their union.

The school had to pay an early termination fee for breaking the SunGard contract (which was to have run through 2012), and its information technology is now being administered by paid outside consultants — all funded by taxpayers, several college sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

This message appeared several times, until just before 1 p.m.

A random run-through of the site earlier this month found several dead links, including a revolving banner homepage — highlighting past, and not current, events at the school — as well as admission forms for prospective spring semester students.

“An attempt to learn more about the school, read about class requirements for academic classes, or download forms is also full of dead ends,” a visitor to the college site wrote to CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. “Many of the site’s links are inactive or lead to ‘404 File Not Found’ Most of the online documentation that prospective new students need to access is in a similar state.”

As a result, anyone interested in enrolling for BCC’s spring semester must “physically go to the college itself, something at least ten years behind what is considered acceptable in higher education,” the reader wrote.

The site, along with tools for departments to manage their portions of it, “were migrated to a Microsoft product from the previous tools provided by Sunguard,” a source with direct knowledge of the circumstances explained. “No training was provided to those needed to manage the content; there only a short transition period before the entire site was ‘live,’ with almost no review before it became the only ‘face’ of the college to current and prospective students.

The move stunned students and faculty members.

“Our computers and IT infrastructure have fallen into disrepair. Internet access has become all but unusable, and no one even knows whom to call about it,” one faculty member told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

“In this day and age, most prospective students for a college expect to be able to scan college offerings, register as students, and apply for courses via the college’s web site,” said the reader cited earlier in this story. “Most students do not expect to have to do any of this in person at the actual campus, and many of them expect to be able to practice ‘distance learning,’ where they may never set foot on campus or in a classroom at all. This is considered a major benefit of community colleges, and is a selling point to students.

“The school relies upon the Web for students to be able to access the catalog of courses and all the related information. Without this online and correct, the most important expected marketing tool for the college does not exist.”

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