As promised, here is my article for The Oredigger. By the way, I’m now the News Editor:
Later this year, students at the Colorado School of Mines will be privy to a new Student ID Card. The new cards have been an item on Bob Franciscoï¿½s mind for the past five years. However, only in the last 30 months has the concept been formally underway. After an eight month review process of several companies, the committee assigned to implementing the new Student ID cards was finally able to settle on Blackboardï¿½s Bb Transaction System (BTS). ï¿½The Computer Networking people had their issues, I (Francisco) had my issues, Accounting had their issuesï¿½but by the time we got all done, everybody was satisfied; it was a unanimous vote for Blackboard,ï¿½ Francisco commented in an interview.
With the mid-November rollout date looming, the Student Life Office is far from the finish line. Only the initial ground work has been laid for the new system. Still to be completed isï¿½well, just about everything. The Human Resource Department is currently mounting a search for a new Campus ID Card Program Manager who will be responsible for completing the installation and configuration of the Student ID Card system. After the system is successfully rolled out, the Card Manager will be in charge of daily operations, maintenance, and complaints from students and faculty alike.
Yet, the Bb Transaction System is not without its opponents. John Hall, a software engineer in Santa Monica, California, is one of them. Hall cautions that ï¿½The main problem with BTS is that data transmissions between card readers and the central system are relatively insecure. They rely on the physical security of metal conduit around the RS-485 lines, but a quick survey of one BTS-equipped campus revealed a number of places where one could easily gain access to the wiring.ï¿½ However, Hall also notes that ï¿½Campus access card systems are a great ideasï¿½ [and] have the potential to be more convenient, secure, and cost effective than the physical alternatives of keys and cash. [O]ther than a general neglect of security, their [Blackboardï¿½s] system works pretty well.ï¿½ However, someone in the HR Department seems to be on top of that; listed under Job Duties for Campus ID Card Program Manager: ï¿½Have familiarity with legal issues for the card and be able to advise departments on legal uses of the card and database.ï¿½
For information about applying for the Campus ID Card Program Manager position, contact Human Resources at (303) 273-3250.
For more information on the security issues of the Blackboard Bb Transaction System, visit http://www.overcode.net/~overcode/bb-faq.html
Andrew Ferguson is Freshman originally from Seattle, Washington. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his website andrewferguson.net0