PCC’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department is providing laptops for technology insecure students and faculty to loan amidst the campus’ closure, which began on March 19.
During this period of remote instruction, access to technology is critical for students and faculty to resume their classes online. Students without it are faced with the possibility of having to drop their courses or revert to pass/no pass credit for the spring semester.
“I was pretty stressed out at first knowing that we were moving online and I didn’t have a laptop,” said student and former Editor-in-chief of the PCC Courier Amber Lipsey. “If I would have had to access and type all my assignments on my smartphone, I definitely would have dropped all of my classes this semester. That would have been completely unreasonable.”
Students who wish to loan a laptop should sign up with this form. Upon receiving the request, ITS will send the student information about the next time they are holding hours for laptop pick-ups.
A table is set up in Lot 7 every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who come are asked to bring their PCC ID card and should honor social distancing recommendations. All devices can be kept until June 19, the last day of the semester, and have insurance in the event that they are stolen or damaged.
“If remote instruction continued, we certainly would work with each student on extending the laptop loan period if they were planning on enrolling in the summer,” said Associate Vice President of ITS Candace D. Jones in an email.
According to Jones, about 275 devices have been loaned since the service began. ITS continues to restock its supplies and has 250 laptops left, which all come from the existing inventory of Chromebooks in tutoring centers, success centers and categorical programs across campus.
Though students are able to borrow laptops, there are still other challenges such as accessing Wi-Fi and knowing how to use the technology.
“Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps,” said Jones.
To enroll, students should call 1-844-488-8395. All installation fees will be waived for new student households.
Additionally, Pasadena’s Wi-Fi now has free public access, which is in place at all libraries, city buildings and access points that run down Colorado Blvd.
Many other campus resources are available for students to utilize.
Video tutorials and guides are available for those who need help navigating the technology. Students can also contact the Associated Students of PCC’s Executive Board for updates about different aspects of student resources.
For assistance with technology, students can email Executive Vice President Christopher Theung or Vice President of Sustainability Santiago Vargas.
“Program leaders are also able to help,” said Theung in an email, “such as program leads for Ujima, Puente, Student Life, the Academic Athletic Zone, CORE, QUEST, EOP&S/CARE & Foster Youth Services, CalWORKS, PASS and Pathways.”
For more information or to view detailed tutorials, students can go to PCC’s website.
Lipsey took advantage of the service around the first week that it was available. Being able to loan a laptop has benefited her when it comes to taking her online courses, though she still has some reservations about the process.
“Honestly, it’s a bit irritating to have a laptop at home to use that you have to treat as though you’re on a public computer every time you use it,” said Lipsey. “Allowing the students some leeway in being able to download and save stuff they need … would have been a bit less stressful.”
The Chromebooks are set to completely restart and close any open applications as soon as the laptop is closed. Consequently, files must be immediately saved or they will be lost.
“Overall, I’m glad and thankful that the resources were made available and I thank PCC for that,” said Lipsey. “But I do think that they could have made the restrictions a bit less stringent to help us during this time.”