Outdated University Web sites mislead students

While the University has worked hard to ensure a smooth transition to semesters, often it seems that the process is still not over. Surely most of the problems have been resolved, and students are once again on the path toward graduation with a clear understanding of their new semester responsibilities. Unfortunately, however, the University has not entirely understood all of its new responsibilities, as some departments still have not updated their online course information to semesters.
Considering that an entire school year will soon have passed, this is inexcusable. Perhaps some of these negligent departments are not among the University’s most prominent, but nevertheless, many students do refer to their Web sites and deserve accurate, up-to-date information. Now, while students are registering for fall, summer and intersession classes, it is especially important that departments are not disseminating misinformation left over from the quarter system.
At registration time, especially, those responsible for maintaining a department’s Web pages have an important duty. We are all aware of the problems of PeopleSoft and the numerous crashes and system failures associated with it. The errors of the PeopleSoft software, however, are more understandable than a department’s neglect to update their course information. Certainly, the Web is a tangled mess of links, and hunting down old quarter information probably isn’t easy, but it must be done. While the University seems mostly semester-compatible online, a few pages have not been updated since quarters, which of course elicits the question: When was the last time they were updated at all?
To illustrate a specific example, the “Career Briefs” pages posted on the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Web site contains outdated information left over from the quarter system. The department does circulate some current information in the form of handouts. However, it is surprising that a department would plan so diligently to ensure that their students understand their semester responsibilities in print, but neglect their department’s online resources.
Administrators responsible for updating Web sites should be wary of outdated information still lingering around their departments’ online information. Departments are obligated to provide students and faculty members with accurate information, regardless of its format. In fact, a department would not distribute inaccurate or outdated information on handouts, and there is no justification for doing so on its Web sites.
Students as well have responsibilities to inform departments if they find any old listings of quarter-only requirements. While this leftover information will not have the greatest effect on upper-class students who have navigated their way through the semester transition already, new students must be wary of being misinformed. Although not all old information is outdated, its dubious accuracy annoys students who must then verify it.