Ogeechee Technical College, in partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the TCSG Foundation, have given away or loaned out dozens of pieces of technology equipment. This allows students a way to complete their online coursework during the pandemic.
With an increase in online curriculum, some students have found themselves searching for alternative technology. They need this to complete their coursework away from campus.
Kadijah Mack, a student in OTC’s Medical Assisting program, is a recent recipient of one of the laptop giveaways. “It wasn’t as simple as logging on and getting my schoolwork done,” said Mack. “There are five people that live in my house that all share the same laptop. Including my brother who is also a student at OTC. To now have my own laptop to complete my coursework makes a world of difference.”
Technology Makes the Difference
So far Ogeechee Tech has given away six laptops and loaned out two more. In addition to the laptops, the college has given out 17 PC sticks bundles. These include a PC stick, wireless keyboard, and wireless mouse. The PC Sticks enable students who have home Wi-Fi to plug the stick into any TV or monitor with an HDMI port. With this they can use that screen as if it were a home computer.
The six students that have received laptops thus far. They were drawn at random from a pool of students who completed a survey. The survey was conducted by OTC’s Disability and Special Populations Coordinator, Sabrina Burns.
“The pandemic has pushed a lot of curriculum online. Completing coursework became difficult for many of our students who didn’t have access to computers at home,” stated Burns.
Jacqueline Drinks, an OTC student, was struggling a find a way to complete her coursework at home. That was an issue until her name was drawn. “A few days before I found out I had won the laptop, I was trying to come up with the money to purchase one myself. This laptop has helped me in so many ways because it has everything I need on it to be successful at Ogeechee Tech.”
Drive Up Hotspots on Campus
OTC has taken several other measures to increase access to online coursework for students. “Not everyone has wi-fi at home. So we have boosted our external Wi-Fi at the main campus so that students can drive up to campus and complete coursework online from the safety of their vehicles,” said Jeff Davis, VP for Technology and Institutional Support.
Not only do the students have technology needs during the pandemic. Many instructors and staff have also moved coursework or services online and needed equipment to effectively complete work away from the office.
“We have provided phones, hot spots, laptops, full-size PC’s, monitors, dual monitors, tablet computers, touch-sensitive tablets, among other things,” said Davis.
“Our goal is to make sure that all faculty and staff have what they need. So they can continue to deliver quality technical education and support services to our students and community.”