As the university’s leadership team discussed how to move student coursework online, a concern was voiced again and again.
“Some students do not have personal computers or access to a reliable high-speed internet connection,” said Joel Reeves, associate vice chancellor for finance and administration and chief information officer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “Providing the technology necessary to make the move to online is critical for our students to succeed in an online learning environment.”
UT’s Office of Information Technology has a supply of more than 200 laptops and 215 hotspots for students to check out, with another 500-plus ordered. A hotspot is a device, specific to a service provider, that allows a computer to connect to the internet wirelessly.
When a request is approved, the student will be notified by email with details of how to have the equipment sent to them. Students are expected to return the equipment in good condition at a later date.
Reeves recommends that students use a wired connection if possible when participating in class work.
“Use a headset when doing video-audio conferencing,” he said. “Work in an area that allows you to concentrate and pace yourself. Online learning requires discipline, and we’re here to help you succeed.”
UT will transition to online classes following spring break through the end of the semester. Campus events are canceled. For the latest information about the university’s response, visit utk.edu/coronavirus.