With formerly in-person courses being suddenly transitioned to online formats, students who once thrived at SIUE are now at risk of falling behind. Multiple entities on campus are working to make sure that doesn’t happen, namely ITS and ACCESS.
Chicago recently closed most of their public libraries in an attempt to enforce social distancing. With the closing of SIUE’s Lovejoy Library and the threat of losing other local libraries, many students without personal computers may be unable to do their work.
Information Technology Services is ensuring students who are without computer access can still complete their coursework. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jeffrey Waple said the team is providing iPads to help accomplish this goal.
“They do have iPads for students to check out if they do not have their own laptop … Even on a mobile device, it’s still hard to do work,” Waple said.
According to Associate Director for ITS Mathew Schmitz, there are a limited number of iPads and they are only available on a case-by-case basis.
In response to this lack of resources, Schmitz said ITS is also working on providing resources to faculty so they can work together just as well as they could on campus.
“There’s a lot of resources they have that the kind of collaboration and communication they would do inside the office physically can also be done online using the tools we have,” Schmitz said.
Another group of students experiencing unique challenges in the face of online schooling are students served by the Office for Accessible Campus Community and Equitable Student Support.
Director of ACCESS Dominic Dorsey said students will still be able to get everything they usually get from the office despite the transition.
“The good thing is all of the resources we have always provided … will still be able to be provided remotely … We’re still able to provide all of those same resources as well as remain in constant contact with both faculty and students who use those resources,” Dorsey said.
Some of the main resources ACCESS ensures are extensions on exams and assignments and alternative format materials for textbooks.
One group of ACCESS students who may face more challenges compared to others while transitioning online are deaf and blind students. Dorsey said measures are being taken to ensure all materials in online classes are easily consumable for these students.
“The [Office of the Provost] has issued a notice to all of the faculty in conjunction with ACCESS … to make sure that when they are posting videos, they’re captioned, [and] to make sure that when they’re posting any kinds of documents, that they are PDFs,” Dorsey said.
There are many classes that won’t transition easily into an online form. Waple said students in majors like visual arts will get clarification soon on how their classes will be made to work through the end of the semester.
“Before April 10, 14, somewhere in that timeframe, there will be communication out to students who are in the visual arts or the labs to say how we’re going to make that happen before the end of the term,” Waple said.
Dorsey said for students to succeed online they first need to be aware of their own personal educational needs.
“You really have to get in a mindset of what do you need to be most successful in this environment and try to cultivate those other areas or those other accoutrements around you,” Dorsey said.