PSC expands access to resources and enhances online experience for students [8/24/2020]
Prairie State College (PSC) stands ready to meet the needs of students enrolled for the fall semester by providing a wealth of resources, including access to technology, online academic support, in-person and virtual meetings with staff, and upgrades to promote excellence in online learning.
As part of its plan to remain virtual for the fall, PSC has identified several key areas to address in order to equip students with the tools necessary to succeed in a remote learning environment, including accessibility, technology, and access to a quality education.
At the close of the spring 2020 semester, PSC—along with thousands of institutions around the United States— was forced to shift to remote learning. Many students suffered from a loss of internet connection, lack of technology, and inability to access online resources, which caused them to struggle in and even withdraw from their courses.
This fall, Dr. Michael Anthony, vice president of student affairs and institutional effectiveness, says the College has implemented new initiatives and updates to put students in a winning position.
“We recognize that not all students have access to technology at home or the resources to navigate our online platform this fall. We want to eliminate as many obstacles as possible to ensure our students are in a position to put their best work forward.”
To meet this expectation, the PSC Board of Trustees recently approved wireless network upgrades across the entire College funded in part by a CARES Act grant. The College also devised a technology loaner program as well as implemented plans to provide students with internet access and online support.
The technology loaner program gives qualified students the opportunity to borrow a laptop for the fall semester. Students wishing to participate in the program can fill out an online request form at prairiestate.edu. If specific software is required, additional options are available upon request. PSC is also turning its parking lot into a hotspot so students can access the internet from their vehicles.
In addition to technology upgrades and resources, students can now request virtual calls and meetings with key offices at the College to provide more opportunities for students to engage with staff and get the support they need. The form can be accessed from the PSC home page and will allow students to direct the request to any department.
Shifting to online learning in the spring not only impacted students, but also was an adjustment for faculty. While the College did its best to provide a sufficient online experience, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Elighie Wilson says that over the summer, faculty worked tirelessly mastering new technologies and adapting and creating new syllabi to enhance the quality of online instruction for the fall semester.
Full-time faculty also participated in the 2020 Academic Affairs Convocation, where they engaged in various professional development workshops about strategies and best practices for online teaching.
Dr. Anthony says the College will continue its efforts to bolster the academic success of PSC students, now and in the future.
“We go the distance for our students, and if it is within our power, we will do whatever is necessary to provide them with access to resources and a quality education.”
Faculty and staff will work with students to address academic needs as the fall semester progresses. Visit prairestate.edu to learn more about the resources available at PSC.