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MTSU distributes laptops, hotspots to help student...

MTSU distributes laptops, hotspots to help students with remote classes

Staff with MTSU’s Information Technology Division helps students with laptop and internet hotspot checkouts recently in the Cope Administration Building lobby. ITD has been lending a limited supply of such technology to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Middle Tennessee State University is supporting students who need technology assistance as the university finishes the semester with remote courses as a coronavirus outbreak precaution.

Like many other schools in the state, the COVID-19 crisis prompted MTSU to move most of its usual on-ground campus classes to a new remote delivery of instruction.

Yolonda Fields, left, administrative secretary for MTSU’s Information Technology Division, helps a student check out a laptop recently at the Cope Administration Building lobby. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Yolonda Fields, left, administrative secretary for MTSU’s Information Technology Division, helps a student check out a laptop recently at the Cope Administration Building lobby. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

But as the state’s No. 1 choice of first-generation students, and serving more students from low-income families than any other four-year institution in Tennessee, many MTSU students lacked ready or easy access to the Internet.

Bruce Petryshak, chief information officer, ITD

Bruce Petryshak

MTSU’s Information Technology Division came to the rescue by reaching out to T-Mobile to secure 1,000 Chromebooks, which they are loaning to students while supplies last. That’s in addition to 300 laptops that came from MTSU’s existing inventory.

The division has also distributed 2,100 internet hotspots, 200 webcams and 50 headsets.

“This is important because a lot of our students are first generation who might not have this access as we shift to remote learning,” said Bruce Petryshak, vice president for information technology. “This will enable our students to participate in remote learning and be successful this semester.”

Students should act fast: Supplies are limited and may run out soon.

Boxes of laptop computers await checkout in the Cope Administration Building lobby. MTSU’s Information Technology Division has been lending a limited supply of laptops and T-Mobile internet hotspots to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Boxes of laptop computers await checkout in the Cope Administration Building lobby. MTSU’s Information Technology Division has been lending a limited supply of laptops and T-Mobile internet hotspots to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Also, MTSU has turned to Zoom, a video conferencing platform, for delivery of many of its new remote classes, which started Monday, March 23. The first week of remote courses resulted in 1,859 Zoom sessions held with a combined total of 23,470 participants, with each averaging 12 to 13 people per meeting.

The largest class lecture meeting all week was a biology class that supported more than 250 students on at the same time for almost two hours.

Students, faculty and staff can find relevant information and updates about remote learning by visiting the special website, http://www.mtsu.edu/coronavirus, and clip on the “Stay on Course” tab.

Yolonda Fields, front left, administrative secretary for MTSU’s Information Technology Division, helps a student with a laptop and internet hotspot checkout recently in the Cope Administration Building lobby. ITD has been lending a limited supply of such technology to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Yolonda Fields, front left, administrative secretary for MTSU’s Information Technology Division, helps a student with a laptop and internet hotspot checkout recently in the Cope Administration Building lobby. ITD has been lending a limited supply of such technology to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

A laptop and charging cord await checkout recently in the Cope Administration Building lobby. MTSU’s Information Technology Division has been lending a limited supply of laptops and T-Mobile internet hotspots to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

A laptop and charging cord await checkout recently in the Cope Administration Building lobby. MTSU’s Information Technology Division has been lending a limited supply of laptops and T-Mobile internet hotspots to students who need it since the university moved to remote courses for the rest of the spring semester. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)


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