Techie, Technology on Schedule?


Techie as it appears for teachers

Ramaz students have been bombarded with emails recently, not from a person, but rather a new automated scheduling system. This system, called “Techie,” is a software developed by Mr. Vovsha to help ease students’ and administrators’ stresses during these anxiety-ridden times. “I wanted to help students and faculty deal with their Zoom links and ever-changing schedules.” said Mr. Vovsha. 

Most students recognize Techie from the daily emails that are sent to everyone’s inbox each night before class. In this email, the list of classes for that day is provided, including the corresponding Zoom links and meeting times. 

The emailed schedules are just one component of Techie. The program is dependent on external data. It is essentially made up of one enormous excel spreadsheet, listing every student’s Zoom links and classes. “Techie is a software devoted to making the lives of administrators and teachers easier. It is still a work in progress, but when completed, it will be a downloadable app such as Google Chrome or any other desktop application. We are having  Ms. Krupka and Dr. Jucovy currently test out the project in its beta phase. The application itself has many functions. A teacher can use it to get room information, find out a student’s schedule, or connect with other teachers to find free meeting times during the day,” said Mr. Vovsha. 

When Techie launched, Ramaz did not inform students of this new tool at their fingertips. “I’ve been receiving the emails but did not know the name of the program.” said Eva Goldfinger ’24. Philip-David Medows ‘24 said, “The emails just started coming one day. It was cool and self-explanatory.” Students learned to adapt and understand the program on their own. 

The Techie emails are known to have errors such as incorrect or outdated Zoom links, incorrect schedules and the works. At first, links for senior minicourses were not provided, However, this was clearly stated at the top of Techie emails. “It [Techie] sounds great in theory but not in practice,” said Goldfinger ‘24, “From what I’ve heard, there have been a lot of issues, and it seems less practical than the old way.” 

Last semester, Ramaz opted for a policy in which teachers were required to manually input all of their Zoom links and classes to the Schoology calendar. “This was a major time-waster,” said Mr. Vovsha. This tedious task was one of the many reasons for the inception of Techie. “We can save teachers a lot of headaches and confusion” he said.  Through Schoology, students would go to the calendar function and find their teachers’ Zoom links. From the student’s vantage point, accessing Zoom links from the Schoology calendar was incredibly straightforward. Yet, for teachers, it was a time-consuming and laborious task, that was frankly unnecessary.

Some students prefer Techie to last semester’s system. “It’s way more streamlined and simple,” said Medows ’24. “I like it better. The old way had me flipping through Schoology posts and checking if the schedule had changed for the day.” Regarding the technical issues of Technie, “I think students need to understand that it is a new software, and with new code comes glitches and mistakes,” said Mr. Vovsha, who takes effort to reply to every email regarding the program’s errors, “I encourage feedback and am constantly trying to make Techie the best that it can be.” “It’s true,” said Medows ’24, “There was an error regarding my schedule, I noticed and reported it to Mr. Vovsha, and it changed when the next email came around.” 

Due to the Pandemic, Techie plays an instrumental part in students’ daily lives, but it won’t disappear any time soon. “Techie is not going away when COVID ends,” said Mr. Vovsha, “The features will still be useful to teachers and students alike. This program is in many ways a substitute for Ramlife.” Ramlife was an app developed last year by Levi Lesches ’21 and members of the coding club. It was set to launch in March 2020, but due to Covid and the change of schedules resulting from that, it never came to fruition. Techie is therefore a substitute, it may not be an app per se, but it is a helpful tool. 

“Whatever your opinions are on the actual practical day-to-day software, you have to admit that the whole idea is pretty incredible. It’s cool how our Tech department can make and produce their own software that us, as students, can use. It is something that makes Ramaz very unique,” said Medows ’24. One can only guess what other projects and innovations the Tech department has in store for us.