Thursday, April 3, 2008

mIRC issues in UTP

mIRC issues in Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Recently, there are news pouring down on us that the UTP management will close down the mIRC, Internet Relay Chat which is maintained voluntarily by students. The rationale behind this decision are to resolve network congestion issue and as a response to complaints made by students. 1 thing about mIRC is that we can do instant forum type chatting where we can chat in a common channel joined by people who share a common interest. If mIRC is banned, students will lose 1 important communication tool instead of an entertainment, as claimed by some of the UTP home grown fanatics. If you want to resolve network congestion or increase students' CGPA, banning mIRC is not the first step you want to take to solve problems. I guess the management is still seriously considering the impact of closing down the servers since mIRC can still be used currently, after +/- 1 month of the ban-mIRC-news released by management. If mIRC is no more, life in UTP will be more lifeless than ever before.

Here's a feedback from an anonymous student:

Dear Datuk Dr. Zainal,

I would truly support UTP Management to close down IRC and DC++ regardless what reasons given by the students.

I agree that UTP facilities are meant for academic, not for entertainment.

As far i m concern, the request of not to ban IRC shall not be entertained at all. This kind of request carries no value at all as the matter of fact, majority of the students use IRC for non academic purpose, and i admit that i m part of the majority.

I dont understand the reason behind why these students still want to fight for it as if they are paying for the facilities for entertaiment? Why dont they spend their time to struggle and get 4.0 every semester?

So what if the students get the IRC? would they still perform well and obtain 4.0 every semester? Definitely NO because entertainment are more enjoyable than study.

Let's put it in simple term... Who provide the internet facilities? Student or UTP Management? Obviously is UTP Management. So the UTP Management has the fullest authority to do anything, and there shall no be any questions about it. If the students do not like it or dissatisfied, please leave UTP and go create their own IRC in other campuses. I believe there are thousands of SPM leavers and DIploma students who are craving to enter UTP.

Lastly, i hope this issue should have a full stop because it has been carry over and over again. Nothing to be negotiate anymore. Students should understand their responsibility as a student. And that explains everything.

I am sorry for such informal feedback. Perhaps i feel very close to you due to your concern of us.

Thank you for your attention.

My response to Datuk Rector which is posted on the eLearning:

Dr. Zainal,
I have read your post in the eLearning regarding the IRC issue. First of all, I would like to sincerely
thank the management for taking initiative to relieve the network congestions issue. Whatever the
solution is, I hope it is for the best of the students.

I just want to share with you my experience with IRC for this 4 years in UTP. My friends and I have been using Internet Relay Chat since 1st year where we have created our own community channel for communication purpose. First of all, we do not and never see IRC as an entertainment tool but as a communication tool to get us connected together after lectures and tutorials. Believe me, we have used it to discuss problems and assignments. I know this can be done in the library or cafe, but I like the idea that we can work in our own rooms and share ideas from our own rooms. This can save us a lot of time. If IRC will be banned in the future, please provide us with alternative where a communication tool can be used to share idea for academic purpose.
I firmly believe that IRC is NOT supposed to be used to download non academic materials and obscene materials. I also agree that UTP management should take actions to resolve the network congestion issue because we need high speed connection to search for information over the net, especially when doing FYP.

I have also read the student feedback where you have posted in the eLearning. Although the feedback is the author's personal feedback and we all should respect various suggestions and feedbacks, the feedback has already been made an issue by people around me because some of the points are debatable. In my humble opinion, entertainment can co-exist with excellence academic performance, provided that there is a proper time management. A little entertainment can make us rest for a while, to prepare for a longer journey. I know certain people are not happy with events like Euphonious and Star Search because they view it as excessive entertainment. I think the only question is, how do you define entertainment?

Besides, some of my friends who are regular 4.0 GPA achievers are also regular IRC users. I don't see how the author can connect IRC with the ability to achieve 4.0. I think the ability to achieve good result lies with the ability to control one's attitude and destiny. I also disagree with the author that " UTP Management has the fullest authority to do anything, and there shall no be any questions about it. If the students do not like it or dissatisfied, please leave UTP and go create their own IRC in other campuses." . We live in a democratic society, not an autocratic society. What he/she said in the feedback is wrong because I believe UTP management will take students' voices into account. In a truly democratic country, no one is allowed to have the fullest authority to do anything with no questions asked about the decision made. Also, if there are certain group of people disagree with the decisions, then negotiation/discussion/debate should be held to resolve problems, NOT simply asking people to leave UTP. After 4 years studying in UTP, I felt kind of sad and disappointed after reading such comments.

I am glad that UTP students like me have a rector who always wants the best for us. I know you will always consider the students' voices or else you could have just banned the IRC without having to post a lengthy explanation in the eLearning. As a student, I am interested in and will support whatever decisions made for long term benefits of the students. Thank you very much.

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