How the web continues to shape campus life: Temple Review

More than 20 years after the Internet and web-based technologies stormed onto college campuses, the life of a university student is still rapidly changing.

So goes the focus of another feature I did for the newly rebranded Temple University alumni magazine.

Read the story here or see the sleek new design here [PDF].

As usual, below I have some background and interview extras that I cut from the story.

Original pitch (first taken in October 2011, due November, fact-checking February 2012, published April:

TECHNOLOGY AND CAMPUS LIFE—Over the past five to 10 years, technology has transformed the traditional residential college student experience, from how much they know about their roommates before they come to Temple, to being able to gauge when fitness centers and laundry facilities are available, to receiving safety and weather alerts instantly. What is the residential student’s relationship to technology, and how has it changed the college experience?
Nearly 1,000 students used the RoomSync system for the Fall 2011 Housing Selection Process last year, 800 of which were identified as new incoming freshman. This number represented approximately 25 percent of our incoming freshman class for Fall 2011 – students who used the RoomSync system to either search for potential roommates and/or utilize the system to identify a roommate to pull into Temple’s Student Web Self-Assign (SWSA) system via the MyHousing application via TUportal.


  • Joining Temple’s international MBA (IMBA) program is full of big steps, such as starting graduate school without knowing anyone, shipping off to a new country and coordinating housing, flights and other essentials.The planning can be stressful. Still, a few days before leaving to begin the program last fall, Britt Miller, Class of 2016, decided to throw herself a party.
  • More than 75 friends and acquaintances showed up on a weeknight at a bar in Center City. Her plans for school were mostly set, and anything she didn’t already know could be figured out with a swipe of her smartphone. Because of a single Facebook invite, Britt was able to have one big goodbye with those she’d miss when she left for Paris, making her departure considerably less dramatic.
  • “When I was a student, doing something like that would have taken weeks and weeks, and literally dozens of phone calls,” says George Miller, CLA ’73, SBM ’83, Britt’s father. “It took her no more than a few clicks on her computer.”
  • “That’s just one of the reasons why she has so many friends,” says George with a laugh.


  • The Fall 2010 Housing Selection Process (February 2010 – August 2010) was the first year we instituted the Room Sync option in our process.
  • Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi was a cool dude who taught at Temple
  • Temple honors business class piloted iPads
  • College campuses, particularly ones with the variety of choice and size as Temple, have always been a sign of what’s to come. If that holds true, students living on Temple’s campus today are promising a world that is (a) more social, (b) more convenient and (c) more available.

Chatting with IMBA student BRIT MILLER

  • how much effort to bring people together for a party? “very little, i made a facebook invite and invited them all”
  • so twitter def.. not really FB.. is helpful to get a business perspective of whats going on in the world
  • “i literally have no idea how i would have gotten through school back then. i mean.. every single thing we do starts with the internet: research, info, how the teachers communicate with us
  • ARE YOU BETTER OR WORSE a student?: much better, esp for IMBAs cause i get a better sense of the business world globally, by reading any website i want, where as if i didn’t have the internet, i wouldnt…
  • so we had to do a design project on the library. temple lib and they’ve got that place extremelyyyy hooked up to the internet. QR codes to the website, i think there was an app
  • Your brother is just a couple years younger. How much have things changed in even that time?: i dunno. facebook came out my freshman year, so it was there, but obviously not as robust as it is now. there werent smartphones. there were no apps. or ok there might have been but no one had a smart phone. i guess just how instantaneous info is. you want it, you got it.. either via a website, an app, a social network

Brit’s father GEORGE MILLER

  • I will give you some food for thought…..when I started at Temple in 1969/70 you were not allowed to use a calculator, as they were just being introduced to the masses, they were expensive, and maybe 10 % of the students had one….therefore we all were forced to use slide rules for Physics and chemistry, and all math classes…try that with a problem having 10 calculations to the negative15th power…
  • there was no Internet for simple library research…it was all done manually by looking up books and references via the card catalogue…better yet, by the time you found the item in the card catalogue , walked to the back of the second floor only to find the book not there…or better yet every article I ever researched was cut out of the journal (every time)…which forced me to the more tame suburban library’s at Gwynedd Mercy, or Beaver College (Arcadia)..
  • .learning was a very tedious process to accumulate knowledge because knowledge of a subject is always built upon understanding the basic foundation previously learned…if you were missing some basic concept of math for example you had not done since 11 grade…you just could not Google for an answer or a tutorial…nobody sold their college text books for fear of not having a handy reference. 3 years later…I still have a few key texts..
  • Connecting with friends…casual or close, was so much more of a chore….no texting, no email, no face book, no cell phone..just good old I’ll see you tomorrow, next week or whenever….or I’ll call you, voice mail did not exist so you had to be waiting on the call…
  • Obviously you had to attend class as there was no Internet to view BlackBoard the next had to seek a friend who took flawless notes to survive if you missed a class…
  • .you could rarely find the prof to ask a question outside the strict hours posted on their office door…today you just email
  • and you just could not beat the wrap around lines around the block to register for classes, as there was not electronic access…until it was your turn in line after the 200 in front of you…you had no clue if your necessary classes still were open..
  • how will the near future affect us…hope fully for the positive given the $150 charge for the average text book …why not $12 E books…of course it will crush an entire industry that has been changing the editions of their texts every year for at least 40 year
  • And obviously the ability to project professional instruction via the Internet has accelerated in the past decade especially by the non traditional degree programs…. does that effect the need for a Prof to stand in front of 250 people…why not in front of 25,000..?


  • Facebook…. Anyone you met as a freshman, you became a friend. i wasnt going to look for them, but if they approved. as time went on, with posting pictures. someone would be like, i’m in your class. you still saw.
  • AIM, because in stant messaging, to go knock on someone’s door. do you want to go to dinner. promoted a culture of laziness.
  • in dorm 1940: people are less inhibited on IM. it’s easier to talk to people once you get their screenname… dining hall, go hang out. you’d study with your laptop, interact your academic with social chatting. if you just missed anything…
  • pre-nursing, undergrad, nursing program at Temple hospital, we had to write papers every week for chemistry.
  • use wikipedia. google things. prevelant after high school. we were standard blackboard and maybe blackboard. temple email, in academic range. by the end of the college.
  •  if we’re doing a group project, we’re using google documents, TECH center, in conference room, we have a white board. editing things in person, looking up in journals. Better student.
  • I have at my fingerpoints, all of these medical and nursing journals. type in a subject to find articles in established journals, if i wa in my mom’s time. it would hve been library based. log into temple health sciences college website. she’d type with a typewriter.
  • it didn’t even compare. the experience was so different here wasn’t even a conversation to be had. University communication email and text alerts. i thought it was a really good idea. It made more aware of whatever was happening at Temple. commuting Temple Hospital, heavily relied on text, Blackboard and emailing. all the powerpoint. class material was more easier to understand because it was all shared on blackboard, the notes. CIM Center, robot simulation of patient situations…


  • Studying Muslim movements in the Philipines, those movements now have their own websites. Working on Muslim Movement. I had to write a letter to the head of the Liberation Front in Libya, I had no clue where in Libya, put his name, the Moro National Liberation Front, Tripoli, somehow it got to him. It took him months. answering his questions. now there are interviews of him that are online. ..Disseration. Go on an website, send an emial and expect a response in a week. Professor, just an emial and expect a response the next day. …. We went to colleges, the bulletin boards were just for the decoration.
  • If you weren’t reading the student paper. If there were things on the, the bulletin board got valuable. If it directly involved, the secretary would call me. KPro, the computer was for typing, Kprol, type formulas. The phone was a very important thing for her. For us, not really, it was important was if the department had to called us. getting the phone, it was not just, it was text messaging haveing an open diary now. It has a lot of positive effects. This is becoming a very complicated world. Through this social media, you can conneect with social media. I think there are people who need that. Sometimes, I feel that, students in my classes, are spenidng more time on it than academics.
  • People are in touch, bu tthey’re not together. that can become a substitute. it was important for us to see our friends every now and then. really engaging together physically and meeting them. i think that’s not a thing. i think people need it, it’s how much time is spent on that.
  • Though when she first started at Temple, Angeles and her husband lived in Cooney Hall, the graduate housing once located where the 1300 Residence Hall is now, toward the end of her studies, they moved to suburban Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
  • “The telephone was always there but somehow it wasn’t enough and it was much harder to keep those friendships I first developed with my classmates,” Angeles said.


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