By BERT MILLS
The pilot BYU Freshman Academy program began testing a new network Saturday, which is being created on campus called Route Y in preparation for all students’ use Fall Semester.
Route Y is an intranet program. It works like the Internet, but on a closed system. Route Y is a program that creates a framework allowing different departments on campus to install personalized programs onto this intranet, maintaining a high level of security.
The still-developing program was created to assist students making the transition from high school to the university, said Joseph Free, Freshman Academy co-chairman. The program is designed to create a small learning community where the students will be able to work together.
The small community created by the Freshman Academy was a good group to try Route Y on, Free said.
“The program is to help them make connections with other students, faculty and the institution,” Free said.
Route Y will help the students make that connection, Free said.
“It is like an Internet inside of a company,” said Gary Dusbabek, a computer science major. It will allow students to have more interaction with faculty, students and departments on campus.
The idea started in August 1996 when President Merrill J. Bateman asked that students would be able to electronically access the university, said Brad Stone, manager of special projects. It was decided that part of the solution would be to increase the accessibility of faculty and other services on campus through a network.
Route Y is the first type of secure network on this scale. Route Y needed to let departments and services enter information without decreasing the security of the program. Route Y is the framework that allows others to install their own programs, Stone said.
A department would be able to create a program giving out information such as class registration and adviser information to students. The program could be interactive and would contain e-mail addresses and hypertext links.
“The program is working, but there are bugs in it still,” Stone said. The Freshman Academy has 120 students in the program for summer term. This will give excellent feedback to both programs on how the system works, Free said.
Route Y will allow students, faculty and employees of BYU to have free e-mail services. A net identification name will be given out to everyone, that will be theirs both as students and as alumni. The same net ID will allow students to access their e-mail and to use Route Y.
Because this system will allow alumni to still have access to the intranet, current students can communicate easily with alumni and vice versa.
The Cougarnet does not have this capability and will probably be phased out or turned into a web publishing account, Stone said.
The feedback the Freshman Academy is looking for from the students includes what the students would want to do, what they could do with it, how it influenced their ability to succeed in classes and how it helped them to make connections.