Misuse of Mosaic money

Christina Vietinghoff
February 26, 2015
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

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A hashtag, posters and a four-minute spoken word video, you might think the University was celebrating something drastic and important like reaching gender parity in pay equity or adding some portraits of people of colour other than white to Convocation Hall.

But this extravagant promotional campaign is actually for an information technology system change that began years ago.

McMaster’s move to Mosaic is not news. Students have been gnashing their teeth about the old system for years and have only been placated by the promises of drastic change come 2015.

Students have been especially keen to move beyond SOLAR, the course registration system to blame for stressful all-nighters to try to register for courses that ultimately end up full. Thankfully Mosaic does have some cool features to address this (like staggered registration times that means no longer having to stay up until midnight, or later if you’re in a different time zone.)

However, the University ultimately chose a system that will still require students to log in continuously if their course is full.

This means the stress and anxiety of trying to get in to courses will continue. The practice of course-trading and offers of bribery to get seats will also continue. So basically, one of the biggest problems with MUGSI will be re-introduced under the fancy guise of Mosaic.

This is just the problems for students.

With the move to Mosaic as the new HR system, faculty have been downloaded work that was previously the responsibility of trained administrators.

For example, the new financial system adds more work for faculty that run labs who now have to figure out issues like currency exchange and taxation. Under the old system, trained administrators would quickly handle these responsibilities. Some professors end up going to the accountants anyways, just to figure it out.

Even with all of these issues, McMaster still chose to celebrate the transition to Mosaic. The spoken word video, with a dramatic black background, intense piano music and sweeping camera shots frames SOLAR as a learning experience. It was made by seven people who probably invested a significant amount of time. Time that could be much better spent on informing students how the transition will affect them.

Mosaic had so much potential. It could have allowed the university to collect more institutional data on trends like hiring and promotions through a gendered lens. It could have allowed students to get in to courses without days of anxiety.

So is Mosaic worth celebrating with a specially commissioned spoken word poem and great fanfare? I’d say save the money and use it towards soliciting proposals for a better system.

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