University Senate and Student Senate disagree

Student Senate’s proposal to give students choice of i-clicker or mobile app stopped


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

Mascot Coordinator Eric Schreiner introduced a bill Student Senate passed Monday night in the Woodland Theater to prevent Blu the Blugold from choosing sides in Senate campaigns.

Student Senate responded to complaints about the cost of i-Clickers required for classroom polling activities, but University Senate voted against the proposal that would require instructors to allow students the choice of using a polling app instead.

University Senate, faculty and staff voted 18-15 last Tuesday against including the policy in the Academic Handbook. It was a proposal student, faculty and staff worked hard on, Student Body President Jake Wrasse said.

Faculty and staff were concerned a mobile polling program would be destructive to the classroom and encourage distraction, Wrasse said.

“They make antiquated arguments for instance that an iPhone would first be introduced to the classroom for this purpose and so I was very disappointed in the conversation,” he said.

Director of Information and Technology Commission Jarrett Yuknis worked closely on the project and said Senate’s not going to give it up.

“We’re extremely disappointed that the student opinion wasn’t heard and represented,” Yuknis said.

Associate professor of philosophy and University Senator Kristin Schaupp said if passed, the amendment would have meant instructors couldn’t use i-Clickers in class unless the mobile polling app is also allowed, which would prevent some instructors from using polling altogether.

Instructors can still offer the mobile polling app without it being included in the handbook and determining the experience for a variety of classes, Schaupp said.

“I think faculty consider very carefully what the cost of i-Clickers are and weigh the benefits,” Schaupp said. “You can’t just think about cost alone, you have to think about the educational value.”


New rules for Blu the Blugold

UW-Eau Claire’s mascot, Blu, is not allowed to promote the campaigns of individual senators or executive tickets after Senate passed a bill Monday night in the Woodland Theater.

However, Blu isn’t caged from promoting voting awareness and the general elections of Senate, Mascot Coordinator Eric Schreiner said.


Open Eau Claire

Senate received their annual update from Open Eau Claire, a website where students can preview courses using a video including an interview with the professor and part of the class lecture. Access to the course syllabus and calendar can also be available, the new student director of Open Eau Claire, Justin Kennedy said.

“It really gives a chance for faculty as well to just kind of market their class and give a non-bias view of what their classes are like, versus something like Rate My Professors which is very bias,” Kennedy said.

This spring Open Eau Claire has been developing a mobile website they’re hoping to finish by the end of the week. Over the past academic year 13 new courses have been added, while 16 have been updated, Kennedy said.

Open Eau Claire is a student-led initiative with more than 15 positions funded through the student technology fee. With a budget of about $13,000, the biggest expense is the student pay at around $11,000 a year, he said.

On schedule for next week

Senate will vote next week on renewing the health insurance policy for students, which cost students $1,579 in 2015-16 along with a $500 deductible, Donald Southard of Southard Insurance Agency said to senators.

Eau Claire is one of three UW schools, along with UW-Stout and UW-Madison, to currently offer students a domestic health care plan, Southard said. He said he doesn’t understand why Eau Claire enrollment rates aren’t higher.