One thousand laptops, 300 webcams and other hardware and software have benefited more than 2,000 Toro students and faculty this semester. Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash.
By Brenda Verano, News Editor
The Technology Loaner Program was one of the many resources California State University, Dominguez Hills assembled to ensure Toros success throughout distance learning,
According to Bill Chang, Associate Vice President of Development and Digital Convergence, as the university faces a huge budget deficit, programs like these have also been affected.
“The budget has affected I.T. by limiting the amount of devices and additional technologies we are able to purchase,” Chang said.
Chang said this along with the lack of inventory from their vendors has delayed their purchasing timelines.
The loaner program consists of laptops, Mi-Fi (internet devices), headsets with microphones, webcams, and software-in-the-cloud services that were available to students but also faculty and staff in order to ensure they,“were able to remotely teach, learn, and work”, as stated on the Technology Resource website.
But even with the current budget cuts being made, the Technology Loaner Program has been able to reach and help more than 2,050 faculty, students and staff since their start in March.
Nearly doubling their September numbers, “1,000 laptops, 270+ headset, 310+ webcams, 470+ Mi-Fis” have been distributed,” Chang said. Crystal Tijerina, a senior majoring in Public Relations, was one of the students who received a laptop.
“I qualified for it soon after as I requested one online and I went to pick it up right away, it was a Lenovo [laptop],” she said.
Lenovo is a multinational technology company from China, whose global headquarters are located in Beijing. Some of these Lenovo laptops from the loaner program have a manufacturing date (mfg) that goes back to of 2011.
“At first it seemed to be ok,” Tijerina said. Before the loaner, Tijerina purchased a Chromebook to get ready for online learning. This was the laptop a sales person recommended to her but according to Tijerina that laptop was not compatible with the school’s software.
“I did not have another $300 or $400 dollars to re-invest, so my only option was to get [a laptop] from school,” Tijerina said.
One thing they did tell her when she went to pick it up, is that she would not be able to save any files in the laptop and if she did want to save something, she would have to keep it on at all times.
The Lenovo laptops are pre-installed with DeepFreeze, an application that restores a computer back to the saved configuration each time the computer is turned off.
“I figured that was what I was going to do, but within a couple of days I started getting notifications telling me I had to update [the computer],” Tijerina said.
This is when Tijerina realized that in order to update her laptop it would need to restart, and she would lose everything. “I was ignoring these updates but finally, within a month of the semester my first computer froze,” She said.
This resulted in her Tijerina getting behind in some assignments. She contacted the I.T. Loaner Department, and they told her she would have to drop off the damaged computer on a Monday and wait until on Wednesday to get a new one.
“I told them I couldn’t wait till Wednesday because I had things due,” Tijerina said.
They gave her Tijerina another Lenovo laptop, which she had for less than a week, because that one crashed too.
After her second Lenovo computer crashed on Tijerina, the I.T Loaner Program gave her a Dell laptop.
“I haven’t had any troubles since I got [the Dell], it’s been good,” she said. “All of the stress was not easy, doing four classes online was something I’m not accustomed to, I’m an older student and I’m not tech savvy.”
But the I.T Loaner Program promises to deploy additional technology improvements.
“[We] will deploy additional technologies soon, such as, a Virtual Student Lab, Contact Center to some departments with chat and text capabilities,” Chang said.
I.T’s Toro Computer Lab is a new service that will be virtually available to students, to complete their coursework remotely using the lab. This computer lab will be implemented to serve those students who do not have a computer or internet at home and who need to access utilize specialized computer programs.
Students like Tijerina who have a loaner laptop, head-set, Mi-fi, or webcam will be able to extend their contract and keep their current device if they are enrolled for spring 2021.
“If students are not enrolled, they will need to return their device(s) per the contract specifications, within 2 weeks after the term ends,” Chang said.
This means the I.T. Loaner program will be continuing throughout the winter and spring and has plans to grow and expand. For more information visit the Technology Loaner Program website. Users may also call 310-243-2500.