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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New LATTE not ready for bright lights

Published: January 17, 2014
Section: Opinions

As they entered a new semester after three weeks of hopefully relaxing vacation, students opened their well-known LATTE accounts to find that the outlook changed and no longer updated. What has been termed “New LATTE” has become the new and preferred method of classroom interaction online. The LATTE that many students knew became obsolete and sentenced to an eternity of stagnation. Yet, both are still available via the LTS website, with the outdated version being termed “Legacy LATTE.” The New LATTE site looks better, the blue and white school colors pleasing to the viewer’s eyes. The older version of LATTE still remains and allows students to access all the previous resources and materials it had before its replacement. New LATTE’s features and updates were necessary and well done, but it cannot and should not replace the resources available to Legacy LATTE, as its age has added benefits useful to scholars and students alike.

New LATTE’s existence fixes many bugs and relieves the stresses users of Legacy LATTE had with its programming. For film classes, the viewer on Legacy LATTE suffered buffering problems and could not view a film in a work- nor time-efficient way, since the buffering times for videos extended the time it took to watch a film. It did not rewind well, so if the watcher missed a pertinent plot point or needed to take a note, the viewing program could not go backward without possibly having to restart the film. It also could not fast forward very well, so if one already watched a part of a movie and wanted to skip it, the program would not allow the skip. In the New LATTE, the films’ programming reminds one of a Windows Media Player or iTunes, allowing easy maneuvering within the film. The films take less time to load and buffer, which allows for better viewing. In this aspect, New LATTE is superior to Legacy LATTE.

Yet Legacy LATTE should not be entirely discarded due to the resources it has, such as the documents already posted in one class being pertinent to other classes. Many students take classes that overlap in major and in interest. In Class A, for example, there is a document that talks about religious history in Maryland. This can become a source in Class B, which is about American history. In a science class, a paper on atoms in Class C can make Class D much easier to understand. The films on Legacy LATTE also act in this way. The Disney films posted in a films class can be source documents in a class on childhood or in a class on business. The sources are uploaded there to be used in that particular class, yes, but they don’t lose their academic usefulness the moment the final is taken. Legacy LATTE’s resources are not available on its newer counterpart, since it is a benefit of age. New LATTE will be able to do this, but not until more and more semesters pass.

Legacy LATTE’s archives assist in the process of choosing classes. LATTE archives its courses’ syllabi and makes them available to any and all LATTE users. I use them to judge what classes and professors I should take when class enrollment starts. More often than not, professors have taught their classes before and have made their syllabi LATTE-accessible. Those choosing what classes they should take must consult this valuable resource. The syllabus is your friend, as it tells you what the class entails, what you need to read, what you can skim read and what the professor expects of you. Like the resources on Legacy LATTE, New LATTE will have these resources, but only after the current student population graduates, as it is a benefit of age.

New LATTE fixes the issues the old system had, but it cannot replace the value that remains in the older LATTE system. Legacy LATTE will no longer be needed, as New LATTE will have more syllabi and academic documents available. Users either must wait until the programmers add the existing resources to New LATTE or let them accrue naturally as semesters go on. Despite this, one day, New LATTE will not need the qualifying “new.” It will be the only LATTE available.