No Internet | Photo by Roxanne Roessner | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State University (WSU) offers students tools to succeed, even if they are unaware of them. The Technology Loan Program, Student Retention Team and the RaiderStrong Outreach all offer help to students in need during the ongoing pandemic.
Technology Loan Program
The Help Desk is the front-line support for all technology issues students may have. The Technology Loan Program started last spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were concerned that there were going to be a lot of students who didn’t have the technology to finish out their courses. When the campus shut down, they were forced to use their own equipment, which some students didn’t have,” said IT Service Manager Reid Allen.
Laptops are issued from the Student Success Center at both Dayton and Lake Campuses. The Dayton Campus had around 500 laptops and has rented out 343 laptops with ten more pending for pickup. At the Lake Campus, only one hotspot and two laptops were borrowed.
According to Lake Campus Student Success Center and Library & Technology Center Director Jamon Flowers, the cause may be that students are not aware of the offer or they already have the equipment. Students can request laptops or hotspots through the wright.edu/remote-help.
While laptops are readily available, students requesting the limited number of hotspots are required to go through an assessment to better gauge their need for a hotspot.
Students can request laptops if their laptops are not in working order, not compatible with different programs, or in for repair. At the end of the semester, all students in possession of laptops will be emailed and asked if they are still using the laptop and registered for the spring semester. The check-out can be extended to the next semester if they are registered, but if they are not, they are expected to return them within 14 days.
“We are here to assist students. If you are having any sort of technology issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the CaTS Help Desk. We are here to help you and to make sure you are able to succeed at Wright State and we don’t want there to be a technology barrier that prevents you from doing so,” said Allen.
The CaTS Help Desk provides remote computer lab access, Microsoft Office 360 and a discounted price for Adobe Creative Cloud through OnTheHub.
“When we first started off, we were getting a lot of calls because students were not used to remote learning. Though I do think that it has definitely leveled off in the past few weeks,” said Allen.
According to Flowers, WSU students can go to the library for any multimedia needs such as Pilot, research, printing and computer workstations. Students can go to campus when Flowers is there on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Student Retention Team
The Student Retention Team started on Nov. 4, 2019 as a division of Student Success, and aims to help students identify ways to succeed, guide how to navigate college life and to empower students to reach their goals. Success Coach of the Student Retention Team Catherine Hernandez is there for students to teach time management and healthy practices.
“Just like a coach, we can’t play the game for the student. The student is the star and they have to be the ones to succeed. The coach is on the sidelines cheering them on and giving them the best advice possible because they have a different perspective. Oftentimes, students can only see one part of the game because of stress and if they can have this person with a fuller perspective, it can really help them reach their goal,” said Hernandez.
Professors can alert the Student Retention Team based on the student’s situation in class and the team can connect students with counseling and wellness, student advocates and Raider Connect.
According to Hernandez, all students have a Success Coach, even if they are not aware of it or struggling with the semester.
Along with the Student Retention Team, the Peer Success Program is available for students to learn from fellow students. Upperclassmen check-in on their partner either weekly or biweekly to encourage students with tips and experiences to help guide them through college life.
“As a first-year at Wright State, it’s kind of tricky when we’re all online and we’re not on [the] campus learning. So it’s nice to have somebody to help you,” said WSU freshman Damasia Willis who is a part of the Peer Success Program.
Flowers, along with Hernandez, participated in the RaiderStrong Outreach. The RaiderStrong Outreach was first created last spring as a way for the university to connect with students and help with problems that they faced with going online.
According to Flowers, most questions from the outreach involved freshmen that were not familiar with college, let alone virtual learning.
The first RaiderStrong Outreach took place after WSU first went online. 200 faculty and staff volunteered to call students and check-in on how they were doing. Their goal was to touch base, discuss any problems that arose and offer solutions to said problems.
The second outreach was at the end of Oct. 2020, and around 100 faculty and staff responded to the call. Students who did not answer the phone were sent an email explaining the situation and were able to respond that way.