Virtual Town Hall Meeting Addresses Tech Needs This Semestercsudhbulletin September 4, 2020 1 COMMENT
COVID-19 Response Town Hall – The Challenges & Rewards of Virtual Learning. Photo Courtesy of SLICE
By Raven Brown, Staff Reporter
When COVID-19 shut down face-to-face learning in March, California State University, Dominguez Hills had to pivot to online-only classes and it came with many setbacks and obstacles for both students and faculty.
Responding to the technological needs of the CSUDH community, the Center of Service Learning, Internships & Civic Engagement (SLICE) held its first virtual Town Hall on Aug. 26 via Zoom, to discuss resources and challenges in regard to distance learning.
The Assistant Vice President of Faculty Affairs and Development, Cheryl Koos, discussed a 25-week course called Effective Online Teaching Practices that 60 instructors would be enrolled in this year. The goal of the program, Koos explained, is to help bridge the technological gap for educators and give them the knowledge necessary to provide virtual instruction.
While many professors have spent the summer learning how to transition to full time online instruction and will continue to do so this semester, students are facing their own set of challenges.
Nicole Figueroa-Sierra, a student representative during the meeting, said the abrupt transition lessened her productivity and motivation.
“I was caught off-guard by the sudden escalation of COVID-19,” she said. “Due to the lack of structure that attending school brought, I noticed a lack of motivation in my studies.”
Figueroa-Sierra also discussed other issues students may be facing such as lack of access to technology, time management, financial insecurity and sometimes even lack of support from professors and campus resources.
Marisol Barrios, a professor in the Communications department, said that many teachers learned during last semester’s abrupt transition that students would be dealing with a range of issues. She said she expects similar anxieties and struggles to manifest this semester.
“I provided compassion, communication and community,” Barrios said. “I implement trauma-informed approaches in my classrooms, meaning I meet students where they’re at.”
Barrios stressed that maintaining communication with students through weekly Zoom meetings and flexible virtual office hours was important. She said her mission was to create as much routine and normalcy for her students as possible and acknowledge any technological barriers they might be facing.
The Division of Information Technology conducted a poll during the meeting asking students what the toughest part was about transitioning to online-only learning. Of those who responded, 57% said it was harder to connect with on campus support when they had questions.
Another question asked was what type of equipment students were using in their virtual classrooms, and while 62% said they had a laptop and with reliable internet, 8% said they were making do with whatever they could and had previously relied heavily on the school’s computer labs.
To ensure that all students are able to successfully complete their courses this semester, I.T. Digital Media Support team member Dylan Lewis said that any students in need of laptops this semester could apply for the Tech Loaner Program.The I.T. Desk will also be offering support tutorials on how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Any other questions or concerns, please contact the I.T. Call Center at 310-243-2500