With already a month into the semester, it’s not hard to imagine good internet access when most, if not all students are taking online classes due to the restrictions of COVID-19. Unfortunately, many students in older buildings such as the Valleys talk of consistent issues with connectivity during peak class time hours.
“I’ve lived in the Valley’s about two years now and have tried connecting to the technology help desk, and they pretty much do everything I’ve already done,” said Danae Carter, a psychology major at WMU.
“I’ve had a few issues with my laptop where I’ll be sitting in class and I suddenly drop from the WebEx meeting or Microsoft teams meeting, and that’s not supposed to happen.” Trenton Jandris, a first-year in the exploratory college program mentioned. “I didn’t have this issue back at home before I came to Western.”
Students not having good internet during a semester that is primarily online is a significant problem. For first years it can be considered a nightmare as they have come to the university not just to learn but to interact with other students in the class and meet their peers.
By itself, unstable internet connectivity presents a challenge regarding connecting to videos, E-learning, or extracurriculars but it also makes it difficult for many students hoping to connect with friends over zoom if they’re quarantining, talking to advisors for classes, and being able to connect to professors when in-person advising is not allowed due to the restrictions. Having issues with connecting during class causes some students to become upset since they may be missing important information that pertains to their degree.
“Half of the days I’m in my online classes I cannot actually see anyone else because WebEx disables their video feeds due to low internet bandwidth,” said Caleb Wrege, a resident in the Valley buildings. Wrege had a lot to say on the matter as the connectivity issues are a large problem when downloading files for classes and needing to see PowerPoints.
“When downloading assets for my 3D modeling and Blender animations the downloads have to be timed or they’ll disconnect from the internet or just crash all-together,” said Wrege.
With students also using the internet for other uses, such as not using the data on their phones, or watching video clips during downtime, the connectivity is an issue they wish they didn’t have to deal with especially during these already troubling times it’s just one more thing to worry about.
“It’ll literally just stop, and I’ll have to turn on my hotspot. Like, okay are you (Western) going to help me pay for this extra data on my phone? It’s a big issue.”