Austin Community College is distributing nearly 1,000 iPads to students who need technology support to transition to online learning.
Out of the nearly 8,500 students who completed the Student Technology Access Form, more than 700 said they don't have access to the equipment they need.
“This is a challenging time for many students. Making the shift to online classes wasn’t something any of us expected at the start of the semester, and it’s even more difficult for students who don’t have the hardware necessary to be successful,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “Our first priority was making sure every student has the equipment they need to stay in class and finish their courses. Watching faculty and staff across the institution come together to order and prepare the machines and communicate with students, I couldn't be more proud of the ACC Riverbat family for making the best of a very difficult situation and coming together with our students in mind.”
Staff prepared the iPads with pre-loaded systems and software including the Google Apps Suite with Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides as well as Blackboard and the Respondus browser.
The kits also come with a keyboard, case, and charger.
"In these uncertain times, it's more important than ever to provide stability and support for our students. Since many students have indicated they are unable to successfully continue their courses without access to technology, the college is addressing this need by investing in iPads that we can loan to our students," says Dr. Susy Thomason, TLED associate vice president.
Distribution began Monday, April 6, and will continue through Wednesday, April 8. Staff established a drive-thru system at Highland Business Center to ensure social distancing safety guidelines.
Students who have a technology need, but have not yet completed the Technology Access Form may still do so online.