By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
CANTON, Mo. -- When he thinks back to the way things used to be at Culver-Stockton College, Joe Liesen can't help but chuckle.
"I remember when we had a 56K-bits-per-second connection," said Liesen, C-SC's executive director of administrative systems and services. "Now we're up to 120 megabits per second. That's just unreal. That tiny connection couldn't run one thing today. We've made sure there is plenty of bandwidth."
The Canton school is being recognized nationally for its efforts to be on the cutting edge of technology. U.S. News and World Report has ranked C-SC as the 53rd most-connected campus in the country. The school scored higher than any other school in Missouri, Illinois or Iowa and is ranked among the top 4 percent among schools that submitted connectivity data for the rankings.
Culver-Stocketon, Liesen said, has made it a priority to stay on top of the technology needs of its students.
"We have to meet customer demands," he said. "The millennial students are different. They have two to three devices going at all times, and they expect us to change with them."
U.S. News and World Report used four equally weighted criteria to determine its rankings -- Internet speed, Internet access, application of technology and available resources. Those categories were broken down to subcategories that included the percentage of dorm rooms with wireless access.
C-SC students are able to stay connected in a number of different ways. The school has 15 computer labs, and each division has its own lab. All of those servers are available online on and off campus. Every building on campus, including residence halls, has Wi-Fi access. The school has laptops and iPads available for students to check out, and students can receive a $100 subsidy if they buy an iPad.
The school has a 24-hour help desk, a mobile site and a smartphone app developed by the Institute of Management Accountants, a student group at C-SC.
The school's library resources are available via proxy server. An Intranet is available for many student functions, including online registration, guidance, student account balance and payments, and grades. C-SC has a Google Apps partnership that gives students access to email, hard drive space and many other resources. Apple TVs are located in many classrooms so students and faculty can wirelessly mirror to a projector and share information. Airprint printers are available in most buildings, and all classrooms have projection systems installed, many equipped with Smart Boards.
Students are able to vote for the channels they want on their cable TV lineup, which includes some high-definition stations. Students can also receive emergency alerts via text message.
The school recently has nearly doubled its bandwidth speed, which was at 70 megabits when it made its filing to U.S. News and World Report. Liesen said the school worked with Adams Networks to set up a microwave connection in Quincy to increase the bandwidth to 120 megabits per second.
Student fees, Liesen said, have helped pay for the upgrades.
"I think it sets us apart," Liesen said of the school's technology push. "I got a call from a student who said we rock. They are happy about the updated speeds."