Bridging the digital divide: Teaching with empathy and equity in the wake of COVID-19

Jessica Calarco, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology

Presented by the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

In this webinar, Calarco draws on her research on digital inequalities to discuss the scope of the problem and its potential impact on students’ academic success and mental health in the wake of COVID-19. Focusing on our most vulnerable students—among them, low-income students, students of color, first-generation college students—she discusses potential solutions to this digital divide. This webinar provides instructors an opportunity to consider how the policies and expectations they developed for their in-person classes might no longer be equitable with a sudden and unexpected shift to remote instruction. Building on her own experience in the classroom, she offers ideas for closing the empathy gap, adjusting expectations, and avoiding further harm.

Moderated by Carmen Henne-Ochoa, Ph.D. Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

Bridging the digital divide: Teaching with empathy and equity in the wake of COVID-19

Recorded 3-24-2020

Description of the video:

>> Okay. So good afternoon for diversity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences University, Indiana University traditional territory >> It is because of their sacrifices and hardship that we are able to be here now to advance educational equity. >> So I want to extend a very warm welcome to everyone joining us this afternoon in this time of global crisis. >> We are grateful and humble than more than 600 people from all over the country answering our invitation and are joining us virtually to address the important topic of digital inequalities and its impact on students in the wake of Coburn. >> 19, join us now we have faculty and staff from universities, community colleges, K through 12 schools, the Posse Foundation, and the private sector. >> I hope all of you are carrying for yourselves, others and extending grace and understanding at every possible opportunity. >> These are incredibly difficult times for everyone. >> Also, let me recognize that we're, that we've all been on way too many who Xun calls and meetings each days, perhaps with family members all around us in whatever ways you are able to be. Thank you for being present and open to receiving this information sharing this afternoon. >> I want to extend my sincere gratitude to a couple of staff in the College of Arts and Sciences who have worked very hard to help organize this webinar in one week's time. >> A heartfelt thank you to Lindsay grew at Brown and today I'm with core for their dedicated and swift assistance. >> So before I introduce our presenter, I want to be sure to communicate a few logistical items we are providing like close captioning for this webinar. So by now you should be able to tell that on your own end. In the same, presumably, we sent instructions for how to enable closed captioning. Thank you to those who submitted questions ahead of today, we receive so many important questions, in fact, that too many to answer in a short, in the short time that we have together, we've done our best to streamline and combine them into a set of questions that are most directly tied to Professor Kuhl Argos research and expertise to address those questions during the Q and a period, because we receive so many important questions that directly bear on matters of equity and inclusion in the contexts of remote learning. >> By the end of this week, I will send a curated list of those questions to all who register. >> The idea is to use this list. The idea is to use a list to lead more localized discussions and explore questions and solutions. So during the Q and a period, we will open the chat. >> Feel free to post further questions, share about how you and your campuses and adjust the various issues raised here, and share any links or helpful resources. >> The chat entries will be saved and we will send you a PDF following the webinar. >> Also the webinar, as you might tell from your end, is being reported. >> We will send a link to the recording to all who registered. Please feel free to share the link widely. >> With that, I would like to introduce Professor Jessica Kumar, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology here at Indiana University Bloomington. >> I am deeply grateful to Professor color go >> I approached her about doing this webinar. >> I mentioned to her that the audience would be faculty and staff at IU. Well, that turned out not to be the case. Thank you, Professor Clark, for stepping up on such short notice and with two little ones now home to share your research and knowledge with the goal of helping us to mitigate further harm to our most vulnerable students. As we take all of our teaching online though, I'll turn it over you now. Thank you. >> Thank you so much to Carmen. And until the staff who helped put this together. >> And thank you all for being with us today. >> I'm certainly I hope that this will be a helpful discussion and hopefully it will be a discussion that can spark further discussions for you with your colleagues, with your students, and think creatively and equitably and as empathetically as possible in moving forward the semester, despite the challenges that we're all facing. So essentially, it's easy to look around the college campus and think there's no digital divide here while students are waiting for class or while they're walking, walking to class. In some cases, students are often passing the time by scrolling on their phones or checking email. And after class, students, at least in normal circumstances, might head to the library or head to their dorm rooms to do homework on their laptops. >> Essentially, devices like cell phones and laptops are, have become ubiquitous on college campuses. >> To the point where many college professors are opting to either ban laptops or relegate them to certain corners of the classroom. Despite that ubiquity, though research suggests that today's college students are still very much divided along digital lines. That research includes a study that I did with my colleagues, any Gonzales and Theresa Lynch. We found that some of our most vulnerable students, first-generation college students, students with more limited financial resources, and students of color are less likely to have access to the kind of reliable technology that they'll need to be able to successfully make this transition to online classes. And we also found that the students who had more limited access to reliable technology often experienced breakdowns with their technology that led them to things like lower grades in college and also to higher levels of stress in the kinds of experiences that they had. So I'll tell you more about that research in a minute. But based on the findings from that research, based on surveys I've done with my own students in my sociology classes. And based on surveys recently fielded by the University Information Technology Services Division here at IU. I'm deeply concerned about the potential consequences of suddenly moving our courses online. Specifically, I'm worried that students from our most vulnerable groups, first-generation college students, students from low-income families, students of color, will find it difficult to complete their assigned coursework and meet the normal expectations we would have for them when classes move online. Furthermore, and given some of my other research on inequalities and student help-seeking, I'm worried that the students who are struggling the most in this transition won't feel comfortable reaching out to their professors or to other personnel on campus to ask for help. >> And those kinds of situations though, given those risks, my goal for today is to talk about how instructors can approach this transition as equitably and as empathetically as possible. >> My goal here isn't to teach you how to use zoom or how to create modules on campus, or how to lead discussions online. There's plenty of other resources that can help you with that part of the online transition. Instead, what I want to talk about are basic changes that you can make to your course policies, to your course requirements, to the kinds of expectations that you might set for your students. >> I would argue that those changes have the potential to close the empathy gap in college courses and hopefully at least bridge some of the digital divide. >> I might want to encourage changes that avoid harm, further harm. And certainly we're in the circumstance that is already creating harm for people. And how can we, as faculty members or as instructors, avoid further harm to students in this already precarious time. >> And then hopefully also give students changes that will allow them supports and flexibility that they need to be as successful as possible in your classes and potentially in other classes as well. >> So before I get into talking through some of those recommendations or at least ideas for ways that we can adjust our classes. In this moment, let me tell you a little bit more about the research that my colleagues and I have done because I think it helps to set the context for why it matters to take a more empathetic approach as we're moving classes online. So the study that I'll talk about today involved about 800 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern University. We started with a series of focus groups with students asking open-ended questions about their experiences with technology and especially the challenges that they face in maintaining access to Internet and also to reliable digital devices like laptops and tablets and smart phones. We had focus groups with students from higher income families and students with focus groups with students from lower-income families, as well as groups that mixed students from different family backgrounds. And the focus group lasted for about two hours each and covered a wide range of topics related to student's technology use and kinda their experiences on campus more generally. We then use what we learn from those focus groups to develop a detailed survey about college students experiences with technology, and especially the role that those experiences play in reinforcing digital inequalities and inequalities in the classroom as well. And we offered the survey as extra credit in a number of large introductory courses with non-survey options for students who didn't want to participate. >> And we had about 748 students take the full survey. >> So we use the data from the surveys and focus groups to try to answer a number of questions. First, which students are struggling to access the kind of reliable technology that they need to be successful in their classes? >> Second, how do those struggles affect students, grades and mental health? Using both qualitative and quantitative data to kind of understand some of the mechanisms around what's, what, why might those kinds of digital technology disruptions be problematic? >> And then also thinking about how those struggles with technology might be related to or contribute to larger patterns of inequality on campus. >> So let's take a look at a couple of key findings here though. >> One of the first things that we find is that there is evidence of inequalities in students access to the kinds of reliable digital devices that they need to be successful in their classes. >> Certainly, well, we find that most students have access to a smartphone or a laptop. >> Those access numbers are higher for affluent white students than they are for students from more vulnerable, vulnerable groups, including low income students, first-generation college students, and students of color Those more vulnerable students are also more likely to do things like share a laptop with a roommate or with a partner, which could potentially make things more difficult in this transition online, if you have multiple people trying to use the same devices simultaneously, uh, compared to their more privileged peers. First-generation college students, students from low-income families and students of color were also less likely to have reliable internet access when they weren't on campus. And because of that, many students that we talk to, they relied on their cell phone data for access to internet when they weren't physically on campus. And because of that, they often worried it even before these disruptions about running out of data before the end of the month, either having to pay substantial overhead charges, are having to go without internet portions of the month as well. And those concerns about running out of data became, become essentially become particularly acute Now that we have students having to worry about streaming their classes, participating in Xun chats like this one, or even downloading videos after the fact to be able to do asynchronous participation instead. So those concerns about running out of data stem from the fact that unlike their more privileged peers, low-income students, first-generation college students, and students of color. We found that our survey that they're more likely to be the ones personally responsible for all of their technology related costs. So the affluent white students in our sample overwhelmingly relied on their parents for financial support in accessing technology. Their parents bought their laptops for them, they paid for their cell phones, they paid their monthly cell phone bills. They even pete overage charges when their students ran out of data. >> And they also paid to have laptops and cell phones are repaired when they broke. >> Students from more vulnerable groups, on the other hand, are generally the ones paying for all of their own tech. They bought their own laptops or sometimes got old hand-me-down laptops from family members or from friends. They paid for their own cell phones, usually for money that they were earning from jobs either on campus or off campus. And they also paid for, in many cases, their own monthly cell phone bills as well. And those inequalities and students responsibility for technology costs any mirror what we know about other research in kind. The inequalities of who's paying for what in college more generally, sociologists Sarah Goldratt grabbed, for example, has a book paying the price, where she talks about how low-income students, first-generation college students, students of color are generally responsible, are more likely to be responsible for their basic living expenses. And that leaves them vulnerable to things like homelessness and food and security and other challenges that they're more privileged peers very rarely have to face. >> So turning back to digital inequalities though, my colleagues and I found that inequalities in student's responsibility for the cost of technology led them to rely on lead, lead to inequalities and the reliability of the tech that students owned, essentially because they were the ones who had to pay the costs. >> Students from those more vulnerable groups, if they had laptops or cell phones, they tended to have older devices, slower devices, devices that were more broken, less reliable, broke down more often. >> They told us, for example, about laptops with missing keys. >> They couldn't type the letter L, for example, or they had laptops that the battery wouldn't hold a charge. And so it had to be plugged in all the time or phones with screens so shattered that they couldn't reliably answer calls or cell phones like we were talking about before running out of data halfway through the month because they couldn't, they couldn't afford enough data to get them through what they needed or devices so slow they couldn't run programs that they needed for their classes. >> They couldn't run sort of >> Programs that require high levels of computing power, for example, because their devices weren't, weren't up to date. >> So to give you a sense of what that looked like, let me tell you about alex, One of the participants in our focus groups. >> Alex is a first-generation college student from a low income family. Before he started college, had Alex's mom had given him an old laptop of hers to use, but it broke just a few weeks into the semester and neither Alex or his family had the money to buy a new one. >> And so as Alex told us, he said, beginning of last semester, my laptop broke. >> So I started freshman year without a laptop, which was very strenuous. And I didn't have a smart phone or any backup, at least at first. And eventually I did get my brother's old computer, but it was very difficult to use because it was very slow and sometimes it froze, but it usually got the job done. >> And so on a survey, someone like Alex might show up as he has a laptop, so he has access to a device. >> But as we see here, that doesn't actually mean that the device that he has is as reliable or as usable as students need, especially if they're going to be expected to do all of their coursework online. So those inequalities in students financial responsibilities for technology, especially when coupled with the inequalities and the reliability of their devices, also meant that students from more vulnerable groups face more frequent disruptions in their access to technology. In some cases, they reported daily frustrations related to technology because of their devices. And they also tended to have longer durations of disruptions when their devices became unusable, for example, they rarely had the money to fix them right away. In our focus groups, for example, in our surveys, students told us about going weeks or months without a functioning device, having to borrow a friend's laptop to write papers on or to take to class with them because there's was just to glitchy or too frustrating to use. We also asked on our surveys about how long it would take them if they're device suddenly became completely broken or lost or unusable, how long it would take them to get enough money to replace that device or to repair it. And some of the students, low income students and first-generation college students especially told us that it would take them months or even longer to replace or repair their device if it became unusable. And so because of that, they ended up sort of relying on these less than optimal devices, these partially broken devices in many cases because they couldn't afford to replace them, at least not in any sort of short-term. Meanwhile, and because they could rely on their parents to pay for their devices. >> Affluent white students in our sample had devices that were in newer and faster and much more reliable. >> And because of that, when they did experience disruptions, maybe they had trouble getting online one day, or maybe they did shatter their cell phone screen. Those disruptions rarely lasted more than a few hours or maybe a few days. And they told us that they could very easily rely on their parents or other family members with help to get the money that they needed to fix those devices or replace them right away. So unfortunately, we find that these inequalities in students access to reliable digital technologies have real consequences for students, even in situations where universities are operating normally. In our research, for example, my colleagues and I find that the students who experience more frequent disruptions with technologies and disruptions in their access to technology report lower grades in college, and also report higher levels of stress. So essentially, even before the current disruptions that were facing technology-related inequalities appeared to be contributing to inequalities and students grades and students mental health I would argue that those unequal consequences are likely to be felt even more acutely as universities move more and more of their courses online. >> So to get a sense of what those challenges look like in real life, let me tell you about two students from our focus groups, salmon Jenny. >> At the time that we did our focus groups, Sam and Jimmy were both seniors, both highly motivated students, but Sam was from an affluent family, whereas Jimmy family had much more limited resources. >> So like most affluent students, Sam owned a laptop and a smart phone. >> Both were relatively new and problem-free. The biggest disruption technology-wise that Sam faced in college was when he dropped his iPhone and cracked the screen. He called his parents right away and got it handled almost the same day, assisted. Sam told me I mean, they weren't very happy about it and talk about his parents, but luckily, I was able to get a new one. >> I know a lot of people just say, oh, too bad until you get an update, but they let me get a new one. It just took a couple days. >> They'd pay for all my phone stuff. That like I was saying before, this broken phone screen was the worst technology problem that Sam could think of that he'd experienced in his whole time in college and it only took a couple of days to resolve. >> It had almost no impact on SAM schoolwork. >> He had a fully-functioning laptop and also a tablet that he could use kind of in the meanwhile as backup. >> And it didn't affect his stress level all that much and it didn't affect his life more generally. As Sam told us, he said it was unusable. >> Just texting on it. It sorry. >> It was usable. >> It just texting on it was kind of hard to see the screen and it just didn't look very nice because it was shattered. And at that point in the focus group conversation, Sam even went so far as to laugh as if kind of recognizing that his problem wasn't all that consequential in terms of just thinking about this is the biggest technology problem he faced. Jimmy, On the other hand, had numerous ongoing issues. A technology, like other students from low income families, uh, Jimmy couldn't afford to buy a new laptop after the one he had broke. And he knew that he couldn't have asked his parents for money to replace it either instead. And so this was senior year when we talked to him. His laptop had broken his freshman year. And through that whole time and college, he relied exclusively on campus computers to do his work for classes. He didn't have a smartphone, which he purchased his freshman year using money that he borrowed from a friend's parents and then ultimately pay back through the job. He was working as a waiter at the time. Over time though, his phone increasingly became unusable. >> As Jimmy explained to us, my smartphones a piece of crap. >> It doesn't load things unless I load them three or four times. It may or may not get certain texts throughout the day. The keyboard doesn't work anymore. >> The touchscreen still works, kind of so like Sam's phone. >> Jimmy stone was broken but maybe still technically usable. Unlike Sam, the Jimmy didn't try to fix this phone or buy a new one. >> Jimmy didn't have enough money on his own to be able to buy a new phone. >> And he was reluctant to ask his friends, family for another loan to try to buy himself a new device instead. And so he ended up just sort of trying to make do as best he could. But ultimately that ended up creating a number of challenges for him. So he didn't have a laptop and he's relying on this broken phone. >> For example, he was applying to law school and Jimmy almost missed a scheduled phone interview with the law school dean because he couldn't get the phone to answer the call. >> He keeps pushing the button and the phone is so broken that it will answer the call. >> Jimmy would also regularly run out of data for the month. And as a result, he would often miss messages from his boss at the local cafe asking him to cover extra shifts. He told us it's really been a pain on those days and probably cost me a lot of money and shifts that I could've picked up. >> So and unfortunately though, Jimmy Jimmy didn't just have problems with his phone. >> We talked about how Jimmy didn't have a laptop. >> He also lived off campus in a house that didn't have access to internet. >> So if you wanted to get online and not use his date of data for the month, you would have to physically go to campus instead. >> And so he relied heavily on Canvas resources, on things like campus computer labs, on campus, Wi-Fi to do all of his work or school. And certainly it's, it's great that the campus is provide those resources. But those resources, as we've seen in this current disruption, also have limitations. Now that campuses are closed, students can't rely on computer labs or the library or on canvas Wi-Fi. And that means that many of our students won't have access to the technology that they'll ultimately need to be able to get their work done for classes last week, for example, you, ITS The University Information Technology Services Division here at IU sent a short email survey to all 100 thousand students at IU across all the different campuses. The main campus here in Bloomington, as well as other regional campuses as well. And they had about a quarter of students, about 25 thousand students took the survey. And of those 9, 9% percent of those who took this survey reported that they don't have reliable access to internet where they'll be staying for the rest of the semester. Again, that's 9% of the students who had at least enough internet access to take an online survey. So essentially the real percentage of students could potentially be even higher than that 9% that we see here. And it a school as large as IU, with campuses all over the state, that could easily mean more than 10 thousand students who don't have access to internet and aren't able to get online to do the coursework that they need. So you might be thinking, students who don't have access to things like reliable laptops or internet, that they might just ask their professors for accommodations or for help in getting through these transitions as classes move online. But as I found in some of my other research on social class and help-seeking. There's also a reason to expect that the students who most need these kinds of tech related accommodations will be most reluctant to ask. Jimmy, for example, never talked to any of his professors about the problems that he had with his laptop or cell phone. Even when those problems made it hard for him to get his work done well or turn it in on time. Instead, he tried to make do without a computer, even when it made his life substantially more difficult than the process, and even when it ended up affecting his grades in some cases. >> Now you might be asking, So why don't these students just ask for help? >> What do they worried about? >> Why don't they just tell, tell their professors that they're dealing with these technology problems to try to get at that question. >> In the survey that I did with Amy and Theresa, we told, we gave our focus group students has a hypothetical story about a student we called Anna, who was trying to write a paper for class and experiencing numerous technology-related problems in the process. >> And essentially we asked students, so what do you think that Anna should do in this situation? >> And when we ask that the high income students, the students in the high income focus group, were quick to suggest that Anna should just contact her professor, asked for an extension, explain the problem. And they were quick to assume that the professor would be accommodating and would understand and just offer that extension that they were that they requested. >> Meanwhile, the low-income students that we talked to said, Anna shouldn't tell the professor as beca, one low income student told us. >> She said that excuse just won't fly, essentially. >> And as we talk to students, and this is consistent with what I've found in K 12 research as well. Low income students worry that they'll be judged or punished if they ask for help. There's a lot of stigma around help-seeking, particularly from vulnerable populations in our society. And they've also encountered a lack of compassion and interactions that they've had with teachers in the past, with their professors, with other university personnel. >> And so that leads them to be much more reluctant about asking for help and those kinds of situations. >> Jimmy, for example, recalled that the getting of his freshman year when his laptop died, he said, I had a paper due for this class I had to take and I did have my laptop at the time, but it completely died on me. Like I couldn't get it to start and completely overheated on me. >> And I hadn't saved the paper anywhere else because I didn't know better than and I didn't have a smart phone at the time. >> So I had no way of emailing the teacher and I didn't really know what to do, had to talk to the professor the next day, the day that paper was due. And they weren't cool with it. And I pretty much lost all the points on that paper. They gave me like 20% when I turned it in a few days later. So like we see with Jimmy, low-income students, first-generation college students and students of color are often reluctant to seek help, even when they really need support. And they're reluctant. And I'd, I'd argue justifiably reluctant because they don't trust that professors and universities will be responsive to their needs and those kinds of situations. So I'd argue then that the solution can't be to expect vulnerable students to speak up and ask for help in dealing with the kinds of technology-related struggles or other struggles that they're facing in the midst of this massive societal disruption. As sociologists like Sarah Gold or grab have talked about, students from low income families already face considerable challenges just in navigating the day-to-day realities of college life, and especially the day-to-day costs of college life. Even in the absence of these huge disruptions, they're struggling to afford tuition and textbooks, even housing and food in many cases. And we can assume that in the wake of campus closures, that those students will just be able to move back in with their parents and live there rent-free. A number of my own students, for example, when I sent out messages a week or so ago, didn't know where they were going to be able to be living, weren't sure whether they would be able to stay on campus, weren't sure whether they'd be able to move back home, whether they'd have to move in with friends and just physically didn't know where they were going to be. And so essentially, wherever they end up, we can't assume that our most vulnerable students will have access to technology, let alone to things like a quiet library like environment that they'll need to successfully make the transition online. Certainly trying to work from home with my five-year-old and my two-year-old is above its disruptive and environment as you can get. And so thinking about certainly not the most disrupted environments, that's, that's an overstatement. >> But thinking about sort of the kinds of challenges that students might face moving home. >> That it's not just about the technology, it's about the other kinds of environments that they're moving into in that process as well. >> So essentially we can't just assume that all of our students, because they didn't sign up for this, they didn't sign up to take these classes online. They didn't know this was going to be happening, just as we didn't know this when we started our classes this semester. >> And so we can't assume that all of our students will be able to easily make the switch online or even make that switch at all. So that raises the question of, so what do we do that, how do we help our students in our forces to make sure that we are making this transition as equitably as possible. One solution, though still a partial solution, is to try to do more to guarantee that students have access to the technology that they need. As we've seen here though, just checking that every student actually physically has a laptop or a smartphone might not be enough. >> We need to make sure that students have access to the kinds of high-functioning devices that they can actually rely on to be able to get their work done without a high level of stress involved in the process. >> And we also need to make sure that students have access to tech support in terms of if they are using these online platforms and these new devices, making sure that they have the support that they need to access those technologies, just as we as instructors do as well at the same. And we can certainly, and that was one of the interesting things that came out of our focus group research was that there's often this assumption that young people are incredibly savvy with technology. And that wasn't the case for everyone that we talk to. There's research by Matt reflow, who's a sociologist who works at Google, who's done research on tech inequalities in K 12 schools and found that students have wildly different exposure to technology in their K12 classrooms. >> And that, that has consequences down the line in terms of how familiar students are with technology, how comfortable they feel with things like online classes as well. >> And so essentially, even if we get, even if we can find a way to purchase devices or have devices available for students who need them. >> Just getting those resources to students might be problematic or challenging as well. >> Many students have already left campuses, and so we don't necessarily have the data to tell us who needs a device or who doesn't have access to internet when we're making the switch online. >> And again, we can't really rely on students to be the ones to come to us and say, here, I need this device, I need this help in this process. >> So I think we have to think beyond. I mean, certainly if we can give students access to devices, that's great. But I don't think that can be the only solution to this kind of a problem. >> I'd argue that we have to adjust our expectations for the semester for what can reasonably get done here. Essentially, I would argue that we need to adjust our expectations in a way that will close what we might call the empathy gap that often creeps into our courses and into our expectations for students in regular courses, and particularly in moments like this. >> So what do I mean by this empathy gap? >> Imagine, for example, that you normally take attendance in your classes and students lose points if they miss a certain number of classes are fairly standard attendance policy, the switch online, you might assume that you can just continue that same attendance policy, but base attendance on participation in the zoom call or on who's downloaded the video instead. >> But essentially that kind of policy, in my view, would have a big empathy gap because it would ignore the fact that joining alive zoom call or even downloading the video to watch after the fact would be significantly more difficult for some students than it would be for others, especially those with more limited technology resources. >> Or imagine that you normally give it to our in-person final exam with the switch online, you might assume that, okay, I'll just put that same to our online final exam in the same exact time slot and expect students to do it online instead. >> But there again, I would argue that we have a potential for an empathy gap because some students might be able to complete that online exam with a fully-functioning laptop and reliable internet connection. >> Whereas other students might end up having to do their, their exam on a phone. If that's the only device that they have, maybe they're living in a rural area where the internet constantly cuts in and out. >> So how do we close that empathy gap? >> What can we do in those situations? I'd argue that if we want to close the empathy gap in our courses, we have to have a four-part approach. First, offering resources and supports, helping students to connect to available resources on campus in their local communities where they are, and also nationally. So familiarizing yourself with those resources. Also adjusting our expectations, so being reasonable about what can get done and what counts in terms of the work that we're going to do this semester. And then also things like making universal accommodations. So offering flexibility that students can access without having to come to us directly to ask for it. And then also at the same time though, recognizing that those kinds of universal accommodations might not be enough to meet everyone's needs. And being willing to grant individual flexibility to students, especially those who are facing particularly difficult challenges with this transition on mine. >> So to give you a sense of what that kind of process might look like. >> And I'll share some examples of things that I'm trying to do in my Introduction to Sociology class, which is a, a 150 students, mostly freshman and sophomore class that meets about twice a week. So in the wake of all the disruptions, One thing that I've tried to do is to stay in regular contact with my students, offering them words of reassurance and also pointing them to rate various resources that they can access and navigating this transition. So for example, when the announcement first came out that in-person classes would no longer be happening for this semester. >> I wrote a message to my students that included the following. >> I'll just share some of it here. >> The end of it sort of goes into a lot of details about the specific course. >> But maybe these words will be helpful for you in crafting messages to your own students. I wrote, I'm writing today with a heavy heart, saddened to know that I won't be seeing you all in person again soon in the wake of President mic rabbi's decision to hold classes online for the remainder of the semester? I wanted to reach out to offer words of reassurance and also to explain the decisions I've made about how we will proceed with the course. Please know that if you're feeling anxious or upset right now, you are certainly not alone. Many of us are trying to figure out how we're going to move forward. Um, it's serious disruptions to our normal routine. Many of us are concerned about our own health or the peop, the health of people we love. Please be kind to yourselves in this difficult time and please know that if this semester is not your best, if your grades do not reflect your pulpit full potential, it will be okay. What you learn in your courses should ultimately matter more than the grades you earn. Said I understand the grades do you matter? And I understand that many of you are concerned about how the semester's disruption might impact your eligibility for opportunities at IU and in your future careers. Along those lines, I decided to make additional changes to our course requirements that will hopefully reduce some of the pressure around grades. My goal in making these changes is to support your health and wellbeing and ensure that you all have the resources and support you need to complete the remaining work in our course as successfully as possible. Though in the email I went along to explain those changes that I'd be making to the course requirements and procedures. And I'll talk through some of those changes and logistics in a, in a minute. In addition to that first email though, and in the the realm of offering resources and supports, I also sent out messages with information about sort of targeted sets of resources that students could access that they were dealing with particular types of challenges. >> That included information for students who needed help with coping with states, kind of staying mentally and emotionally well amidst all of the destructions that they were facing, both on campus and off. Also things like housing and food. >> What options were available to students locally and resources that they could access more broadly, I when things like dorms closed or when dining halls pose also some links with recommendations for finding access to reliable laptops or tablets. If they did decide to purchase their own advice, their own devices >> That students could access that way. >> And then information about access to things like reliable non-cellular internet programs that they and their families might be able to apply for to get access to low-cost Internet at home. And so those are some of the kinds of resources that I tried to share with my students without them even having to ask me for it. But just to put that information out there in a way that students could access if they needed it. Now, as we've talked about though, just giving students information about resources is a good place to start, but it probably won't be enough to prevent some students from struggling with the digital divide. And essentially then the next thing I tried to do in my own courses is to adjust my expectations for what we'll be able to get done this semester, and essentially what will count as success in my own courses. But basically this is about changing our mindset as instructors, about focusing on being kind to our students and even being kind to ourselves in an incredibly difficult time. I'm guessing that many of you, many of us, are dealing with disruptions in our own lives. Maybe like me, you've got young kids at home whose schools and daycare is, are closed and you're trying to provide care and instruction in some cases for them, while also managing moving your own courses online. Maybe trying to keep up with your research, trying to keep up with your service requirements as well. And maybe like me, you figured out that you have to ratchet down some of your own standards for what can ultimately get done this semester. You might have to forgive yourself for things like the pile of ungraded papers on your desk or the unread e-mails in your inbox or the laundry piled up on your bed, or at least in my case, the amount of TV you're letting your kids watch at home. Essentially, what I'm suggesting is that we have to extend that same kind of forgiveness to our students as well. We have to ditch the idea that students can and should only get A's if they rise above these kinds of disruptions and continue to exceed the kinds of expectations that we set for them before everything went haywire in our current environment. Because arguably, if we don't make those kinds of adjustments, we run the risk of grading students on their privilege and not on what they've learned or on what they'll be able to do. And that's why one of the things that I decided with my own course was that no student in my class will end up with a grade at the end of the semester that is lower than where they were when classes went online. To me, that just feels like and essentially they'll be able to do more work if they want to build. There's more assignments that they can complete, but those assignments will only raise their grade if they, if they do better on those assignments than they have on previous ones. And certainly students from privileged backgrounds might be more able to take advantage of those policies and raise their grades more in the process. But I feel confident at least that no one's grades will suffer because of the kinds of challenges that they're facing this semester on, they certainly students will have the opportunity for pass-fail if they want that as well, if they prefer that in terms of it, rather than getting an actual grade. >> And so along those lines and beyond just making sort of a mindset adjustments, I would say that the next step is to offer accommodations like that, that students can just access without having to specifically ask for things to the class as a whole. >> Those kinds of universal accommodations >> And important because I certainly don't have a great idea of, of all the students who might need. I mean, I've done some polling in my classes, but not all students take those poles. And so I have some inkling, but many of you might not know at all which students of yours need the most help during this transition. And as we've talked about, we can't just rely on students to come to us and be the ones who are asking for help. And so in terms of my own classes, some of the kinds of universal accommodations that I've tried to make are things like it won't be taking attendance in any of the online classes that I'm giving. Their attendance grades will be based on just what they did before classes went online and not based on things that happen from here on out. Certainly I'm encouraging my students to continue participating in class and engaging with course content. But I'm also trying to give them as many different options for participating as possible. So those who are able to do so can follow along with the livestream that I'll be offering during our regular class times each week. I'm using Microsoft Teams because it has automatic transcription or automatic captioning that it kind of automatically turns what I'm saying with some glitches, but not, not perfect, but definitely not terrible. I'm into live captioning, so I can use that for students and students can follow along and see the live captioning during the live stream. They also have the option to watch I downloaded version of the video later, which I'll post on Canvas or they can watch it through teams. And that will also have the captions along with it and also a transcript that they can run and watch alongside of that as well, which I think is helpful for students who might not be able to attend during our regular class time because of new responsibilities at home or care responsibilities or work requirements that they have now that they're no longer on canvas. And then another option for students, especially those who have much more limited bandwidth, is to read the transcript of the video. I'll post just the text of the transcript from everything we talked about in class alongside the full slides that I will be sharing during our live stream lectures. And essentially, normally I don't share full slides with students. My standard practice is to give them what I call partial slides, which if you're looking at the screen right now, it would look like this with the boxes, but with no words filled in. And so that's what my students get is like a full deck of PowerPoint slides with blank spaces to fill in words. And so they'll just get the full slides now because that just feels like the more appropriate option. And they'll have that plus the texts that they can download. And that's probably the lowest bandwidth option in terms of other types of accommodations. All of the remaining kind of minor assignments that I usually assign in my classes. Things like weekly reading, quizzes or in-class activity reflections. We do a lot of kind of in-class hands-on activities. And then I have students write short reflection papers afterward. All of those are now essentially optional in the sense that if students do them, they can, they get better grades on those and they've gotten on previous similar assignments, there'll be able to drop their lower grades, but they don't have to complete any of the remaining ones for the semester. And I'm also kind of leaving those assignments open for a much longer period of time so they can complete them instead of having to complete them during the class or within a certain window around the class that they'll have a much longer timeframe to do so. Instead, for those who are participating asynchronously or might have more trouble staying connected. And then in terms of my final exam, students will have the option, I usually do both a project, a final project, a group project, and a final exam. And so what I decided to do this semester was to make both of those optional in the sense that they can choose which one of the two they want to complete. So they'll have the option to either do a project or take an online exam. And I've actually been doing Online exams for a while now I'll have you I'll probably talk a little bit more in the Q and a about kind of how I made that decision to move to online exams and why I felt like that was more equitable than having 250 students sitting elbow to elbow in a room for an hour and a half taking an exam. But anyway, and so the way that I do online exams and have done them for a while is to make them untimed. So my students get 72 hours to complete their exam. It's not a standard kind of hour and a half or two hour exam. It's also open book, open notes. I don't wanna have to worry about, I don't want to I'm not stressed about cheating. That's just not that's not my concern with exams. And especially because their other option is a project which they'd be doing with other people anyway. I'm just not concerned about it. I don't think it's the kind of thing I should be stressing about, especially this semester. And then I also, I give them a Another thing I don't like, I'm happy to talk more about in the Q. And a2 is giving them a detailed study guide that there I encourage them to collaboratively complete so they work with each other. It's posted on as a Google Doc that they can complete that way too. And I find that that reduces a lot of the stress around online exams. Kind of not having them timed, having them be open book, open notes, and having the encouraging them to work together to compile the resources that they need in advance to be successful. And then I also adjusted the grading, the grading scale for the whole semester to accommodate all of these changes and made that really clear to students that their grade can't go down from what they already have. And also that if it does go up, it will be based on this different point scale than what they might have seen on the original syllabus. So all of these kinds of universal accommodations, I'm hoping that they will help many of my students be able to access the kinds of content that they need to be successful in the class and to get as much out of the course as they were hoping to get out of it. I mean, the reason students take our classes is not just to check it off on a, on a form, but to hopefully learn something. And so I want to be able to continue providing this content for students who care about the material and who want to keep engaging with our discussions. And so my hope is that by giving as many options as possible, they'll be able to do so. >> At the same time, I recognize that those kinds of accommodations might not be enough for everyone. >> Some students without reliable access to laptops or tablets or computers, and certainly those without high-speed internet at home will almost certainly have much more difficulty completing their coursework. I don't want to penalize students just because they happened to be on the wrong side of this digital divide. And that's again, why I'm kinda communicated to students that I'm more than happy to work with them if they need additional accommodations beyond what I've offered in the syllabus to please contact me and let me know. I found in my research on help-seeking that when teachers or professors do reach out an offer that kind of support, students feel much more comfortable taking advantage of it when it's not stated explicitly. When it's not stated that it's okay to ask me for help. It's much scarier for students to have to speak up in those kinds of moments. And also reached out to some individual students that have already expressed some concerns about kind of the transition to online classes and tried to follow-up with them as well. And then again, tried to sort of reduce some of the pressure around braids by making sure that students know that the work they've done so far, if that's what they can do reasonably this semester, that I'm okay with that and that's perfectly fine with me. Essentially. That way they don't have to, to deal with the added pressure of completing work, especially if they're struggling to stay online. So ultimately, the specifics of the way that we adjust our expectations this semester will have to vary from class to class. But essentially what I'm arguing for here and what I hope that you'll be able to take away from our discussion. Is that now that our classrooms are essentially empty for the remainder of the semester, now that we can't expect our students to physically show up in person or that will, that will even be able to see them or see them in class. We'd have to shift both the technologies that we're using to be able to teach our students, and also the expectations that we're setting for our students in that process as well. And we have to make sure that those expectations that we're setting reflect a high level of empathy, especially toward those students who might be most vulnerable during this incredibly difficult and disruptive time. So with that, I'll turn it over to Carl. And so questions that you all posed and advanced, Thank you for sending those. And then if we have time at the end that we have quite a few questions to get through. Well, potentially open up the chapter more questions as well. >> Excellent skill. And let me just move this fact here at Great. Thank you so much, Professor color-code, please feel free to, to have a Joe started on coined for, for the last 45 minutes again. Thank you to Professor co-worker. And as I mentioned earlier, we did receive quite a few questions, many, many event excellent questions. And of course, there's not enough time for us to answer all of them. So like I said earlier, we compiled a list on streamlined, organized them so that we could address as many as possible. And so why don't we start with the following question. What are the best practices for remote education from an equity access and inclusion perspective? >> Sure. So I think the thing we have to keep in mind here is that, like I was saying before, our students didn't sign up to take online classes. And so what that means is that we can't rely on the best practices that have already been developed by educators who are doing this kind of online instruction. The expectation among students and among faculty that courses will be put online, essentially use we as instructors. And our students didn't know that we were getting into this kind of online environments. And so I think we have to kind of think outside the box a little bit when we think about what the best practices are for this situation and how they might be different from the normal best practices of online instruction, especially I think the best practices we can follow here involve setting reasonable expectations for what can be accomplished this semester for ourselves, as much as for our students. Giving students as many options as possible for participating and engaging while also trying to minimize creating extra work. I think the last thing we want as instructors is to create extra work for ourselves. And I think we want to extend that courtesy to our students as well and avoid creating a whole bunch of new online content or modules that they'll have to go through and do work on and familiarized ourselves with just to be able to check off boxes to say we did enough this semester. I think less is more. And in this situation and then really trying to treat students with kindness and empathy. Offering them support as much as possible and trying in the decisions that we make to at the very least avoid further harm. >> And one other thing to mention the colors, because this came up during the chat as you were speaking. So empathy is important, but also an incredible level or a heightened level of patients is necessary. This is in fact our first time hosting a webinar of this scale. And so even just for us, but learning, I mean, we have all of the technology here, but learning how to use it, when to use it, et cetera. So I'm wondering, the chat mentioned Can you please ask the speaker to slow down? Thank you. That's so so that was that was helpful. And I think that these are the kinds of conversations we're going to be having as we take learning online. Because it's going to be fundamentally different than what it is when we're person all sharing the same space in. So, so thank you for those of you who asked us to slow down. So how should we think about incentivizing or not incentivizing attendance and participation as classes, mohan. >> Yeah. And I think here I would argue that requiring synchronous participation just isn't equitable in this moment. That making that a requirement for students because students didn't sign up for this. They didn't know at the beginning of the semester or when they signed up for courses even a year ago, potentially that they would have to be taking this course online. And we can't guarantee them that they have access to the technology, the time, or the mental space right now to be able to participate synchronously in our courses. But for many of our students, this is probably the biggest and most challenging disruption they've encountered in their lives. And I don't personally think that our classes should be their biggest concern, that that doing well in our courses this semester shouldn't be something, at least I personally feel it shouldn't be something that they stress about. I want to encourage students and give them the opportunity to continue participating and attending either synchronously or asynchronously. But the idea for me at least, of incentivizing attendance or incentivizing participation. It doesn't feel appropriate for the given moment. I can see if this was a class that I had designed, does an online course that, that would, that might, I might have different expectations, but I think in this moment with everything that we can't see that our students might be facing health-wise or mental health-wise, or in terms of the disruptions that they're experiencing in their lives, that requiring or incentivizing participation doesn't feel super comfortable to me, at least passes. >> And so how can we adjust our expectations around assignments? >> They would have previously been completed in class and that's certainly hired. I think many of us when we design our courses like those assignments, that way to our classes for students to do as they're working through the material. I know first, certainly for me in my Introduction to Sociology class, some of those in class activities are my favorite parts of the class, seeing students actively engaged with the material. But I think we have to be careful around the amount of work that we're putting on students at this point of avoiding creating more work for our students, more work for ourselves, more work if we have them for our graduate assistants in our classes who are taking on some of that grading work as well. I think we could all use a break with the work that we have on our plates right now, potentially then cutting those assignments that aren't critical for the learning objectives that we have for our courses. Giving a longer window of completion if you do want to maintain some of those types of quote, unquote, in-class activities, making sure that you're leaving time for students to complete them to account for asynchronous participation. So for in my own classes, for example, I'm planning on giving at least a week for students to do those essentially optional in-class activities a week. I would love to leave them open for the whole semester, but then that ends up being too much grading at the very end. So I figure at least a week will keep students a chance to, to get those done if they want to do them and if they have time and space to do them while also still giving me in my graduate TAs time to get them done and get everything graded by the end of the semester. And then like I was saying, before considering making at least some of those assignments optional and using them as a way that students can substitute those for lower grades that they've gotten earlier in the semester, as if they do have the space to be able to participate at this time. >> So Professor Clark and many of our faculty or teachers are also very concerned about how to do assessment online now in an equitable way or in a more equitable yeah. >> Yeah. And so as I was saying before, I teach at 250 students Intro Sociology class. And it's, I mean, exams are one of the, certainly the easier option in terms of assessing students learning in a class that size. And I used to get paper exams. I used to do one midterm exam in a 75 minute course period. And then students who needed disability accommodations could get extra time as they are in different spaces needed. And then one to our final exam during our regular finals period. But then a few semesters ago, I was talking with one of my students at a black woman from Indianapolis, and she gave me permission to share this story with other people, essentially, because of the death in her family. She had to take a makeup exam. She had she had contacted me and let me know that this happened at essentially two days before the exam. It's like I have to go home. What should I do? And I told her, don't worry about it. You can come take the exam, take a makeup exam, essentially in an empty office and our departments during my office hours. And that's what she ended up doing. And afterward she told me it was the best exam experience of her life, that she told me how anxious she usually gets when she's taking exams, especially in huge classes. And it's sitting elbow to elbow with other students, heart pounding, sweating, just kinda feeling anxious and uncomfortable. And she talked about how, especially sitting packed in that way with other students who were also stressing about these exams kind of made that anxiety worse. And that by just being able to be in a room by herself made that anxiety like, almost completely go away. And so after that conversation with her and I so I had kind of given her information about disability support services on campus and she said she'd never been, you know, when it even ever mentioned the possibility of test anxiety being a thing. And so she was sort of talking about how her own experience in high school or elementary school, she couldn't have imagined someone getting heard. These kinds of accommodations to help her deal with the stress that she was feeling during tests. And so essentially at that point, I looked into some of the research on inequalities and diagnoses around these kinds of kind of Learning Support related accommodations. And I just I decided that that point that requiring students to do in-class exams in my giant classes just didn't feel like something that I could equitably are reasonably do. And so I looked into online, online exams as a way to alleviate some of that pressure and allows students to, if they wanted to take the exam in a space of their choosing. And in doing that, I also wanted to take off the time requirements. Some moved from the sort of standard timed exams to 72 hours. That's sort of a window that students that the exams open the whole time. >> They can just take the exam anytime in there that they want to. >> U that includes one normal class period that they can use for the exam. And I'm also happy to do the pop the exam in class with them. We starting a normal semester, but they're welcome to either take it in person or take it online, whatever they prefer. And so the process that meant that I had to rewrite good chunks of my exams. I wanted to have more critical thinking questions, more sort of short answer questions, as opposed to just lots of multiple choice questions. I also created a giant test bank so that most students aren't getting the same questions. So there's like three times as many questions. Maybe even more than that, the null actually get on the test. But I think that that's and I also made it I had I've always had sort of open not open note exams. I always allowed students to use some notes at least, but now they're just open notes that open books because I'd much rather see with my online exam that students can apply the material and think critically about the material that I'm teaching rather than just regurgitate facts and figures from class. And I know that that's not possible in every class type of environment, but I found that it works incredibly well in my classes that students are much less stressed about the exams. There's still a pretty good distribution in terms of the grades that didn't change all that much, but it certainly has reduce student stress around the exams. And so this semester I can't guarantee access to internet if they were on campus. I feel like I can reasonably assume that all students could find a place to take an online exam, whether it's at the library or in their dorm rooms. Now though, I don't feel comfortable just tricked firing a final exam. And that's part of why I decided to give them the option of either taking a final exam or doing a final project instead. And so I think that for me feels like a better option in terms of making sure that students have some flexibility that if they're concerned about having consistent enough internet access to do to be able to do a project or to be able to do an exam that they can take that, the project option and do that instead. >> So I've appreciated so much of what you just said now. And I do think that beginning from the assumption that our students have a lot more to worry about than cheat on an exam goes a long ways in terms of closing the empathy gap. And so you've talked a lot, of course, about the, just the, the quote-unquote normal challenges that students are going to have as they're trying to access their course materials online. How can we accommodate students with disabilities, and especially those with limited access, again, to technology, Absolutely. >> And I think in this case it's challenging. I mean, I think it's a what we have to think about sort of the layers of difficulties that students are facing as they, as courses move online, as they're trying to navigate new physical environments for where they're living. Certainly not an easy time. I'd been thinking, at least in my own classes, I'm trying to get students as many options for engagement and participation. As possible with the idea that they won't necessarily have to come to me to ask for any additional accommodations. That includes things like in terms of participation, having that they can participate synchronously with the live captioning of what I'm saying if they want to. But they can also download the video to watch afterward and be able to read that alongside the transcript. I do tend to talk too fast. And so my hope is that with the transcript there, that that will be easier for students who, especially when I'm not in a live environment, we'll be able to kind of make sure that they're catching everything and being able to follow along with the transcript there. And then also having the downloadable transcript. I'm having something where there's a tech space. And if you don't have access to something with live captioning, thinking about maybe putting your full lecture notes up with your lecture slides. If you use lecture notes as a way to make sure that students can see the full content of what you're saying, even if they're having trouble following along with the video or following along with the kinds of materials. And so I think just creating as many options as possible for students to participate and not requiring them to use one model versus another. And giving them that flexibility in terms of exams, again, kind of giving students the option of the exam or projects that can help students who might be feeling particularly nervous about taking exams during this time. Especially students with disabilities who might not be able to get the normal supports that they would be able to access through something like a disability support services office, making sure that they have other options for getting those kinds of points in your classes. And then also if you have students who've already come to you to talk about disability related accommodations, reaching out to those students saying, Look, I'm, I'm providing these kinds of accommodations. Is this enough or there are other ways that I can help support you to make sure that we're sort of meeting our individual students needs as well. >> So do universal accommodations give too many advantages to students who don't? So again, I think this is a tricky question where there's quite a bit of anxiety, especially among faculty and teachers. A while some students are being disadvantage, we aren't giving undue advantages to those who are already privileged. And to some extent, and yeah, so how do you end? >> This is something I think a lot about, a lot of my research looks at the unfair ways that privilege people are able to game the system and get themselves unfair advantages, especially in schools. Personally though, I think without a massive reduction in the power that privileged people have and our society. Individual instructors, we can't avoid giving advantages to students who don't need them. They're already baked into the system. Essentially, our whole educational system is really set up to give advantages to the most affluent white students that we have in our classes. I think in this situation particular, well, we have to focus on is preventing students without those kinds of privileges from being penalized because of the challenges that they face. >> And that should be our focus. >> Exactly, at least in this moment. Yeah. >> So another question. How should we hold students accountable if they, if they weren't completing the assigned work? >> Yeah. And again, here, I just personally, at least I don't feel like this is the time for accountability. I think this is the time for empathy, the time for patients, as you were saying before, the time for understanding with what our students are going through. This is probably one of the biggest challenges that students have ever faced in their lives, or at least the biggest times of uncertainty in terms of not knowing what's going to happen for themselves as individuals and for society as a whole. And so I think the most important thing we can do as instructors is try to avoid causing further harm in our classes and in the way we interact with and treat students. It's certainly one of my students stop coming to class, stops turning in assignments I have, doesn't take the final exam. It would be easy for me as an instructor to assume that that student is just slacking off. And this is something I found in some of my K 12 research too, is that it's easy for teachers to make the assumption that if students aren't engaging, aren't participating, that they're just not motivated enough to do the work. But I think we have to rethink that assumption. I think I want to assume in those moments that those students are, that those students have a decent chance that they're struggling. And they really need is empathy and support and offers of help. And essentially that's part of why at least I can offer them a grade based on the work that they've already completed in case they are dealing with circumstances. Because I think I'd I'd rather make that assumption that they're facing challenges that they're not comfortable talking to me about. Mm, then make the first assumption and just assume that they're not motivated and risk causing further harm. >> And that process can agree one with that answer. So how can we support students who face new challenges and responsibilities? So here we're thinking about childcare responsibility, work responsibilities, family responsibilities, housing or food, or economic insecurity in the wake of the coronavirus related disruptions. And I know that earlier mentioned are addressed that to some extent you can just kind of expand on that? >> Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think to the extent and so many of these resources are localized and so many of our students are returning to communities that are far away from campus. In many cases, maybe not quite as much for those of us here at IU, or at least the majority of our students come from Indiana. But certainly for those of you who are at other universities thinking about How do I help students when they're not physically located in the same communities. I think at the very least, and I'll talk in a minute about sort of some, some, some national resources. But educating ourselves about the kinds of resources that are available through your, through your university. And many universities are, I'm doing everything they can to put together resources for students, making these kinds of resources available. So even though all of our inboxes are overflowing right now, actually reading those emails that people have worked so hard to put together that include information about the kinds of resources. Yes. So so familiarizing yourself with those, understanding what resources are out there for students, and then compiling some of the key ones to be able to share with students if they, if you think they might be in need of support or are pointing students having a place. I have a big announcement on my canvas page for my classes. It's like, here's all the stuff, here's all the stuff that you might need for this, here's all this. And so students can just access up themselves without having to send it out as bulk emails. And then also checking in with students beyond beyond sort of offering resources, checking in with them individually, asking if they're doing okay. If a student emails you because they're concerned about a grade to saying, Hey, are you doing alright? Can go a long way in this moment. >> So what resources are out there for students who are struggling with access to technology? >> Yeah, and so there are, there are some programs, sort of national programs that students might be able to take advantage of. It depends a little bit on their family such situation, and then their economic circumstances. So for example, for students who don't have internet access at home, they may qualify for programs that provide low, low-cost, high-speed wireless internet to low-income families. For example, internet is a program through Comcast that provides $10 among internet for families who qualify for, especially snap, essentially food stamps as well as a number of other government programs. I'm if you qualify for those, you sort of automatically qualify for $10 a month. Internet on AT&T's digitally you program has a similar $10 a month program. And there's a couple of other companies that offer similar types of services. Those programs though, do typically require applications and kind of proof of qualification for other types of government programs. And one thing that Sarah Bilder grab talks about in some of her work is that college students often don't work enough hours to qualify for things like food stamps. And especially in this moment where unemployment is potentially going to be so high, I worry a little bit about relying on those programs without changes in the eligibility structure to help students get online. Beyond that. One thing that we're actually doing here at IU now, which I'm happy about, is setting up driving internet in some of the parking lots around campus. So at the stadium for those, and we can actually, it's campuses all across the state. So most of the regional campuses are setting up similar, similar calling them hotspot lots, I think firstly, for students, for students and community members. So like here in Bloomington, the orange lot in the stadium, if you pull into any of the parking spots there, you'll be able to access WiFi for free on your devices for students who are having trouble. And you can certainly ask your university about similar types of initiatives that they could do. And also other community organizations, the public schools here in Bloomington, for example, are doing something similar with their parking lots. And I think a number of other community organizations are thinking about putting up similar Wi-Fi parking lots as well. And then in terms of digital, like actual devices, this is a little trickier. I mean, certainly I've seen some programs across the country where a university where I've seen it more commonly in K 12 schools with district sort of offering physical devices because of the funding of higher education that's often not quite as feasible, especially when we're talking about huge tens of thousands of students. In some cases, to give everyone access to a device, but certainly educating yourself about the options that are available. You can get a $50 Kindle, you can get a $200 laptop that still may be out of reach for many students. There's another program, spherical grab setup of a program called the fast funds program Where individual faculty members can apply for small grants to get access to financial resources that they can then distribute directly to students who have small, that critical financial needs. If they need $200 to buy a laptop, if they need to pay the electricity bill. Those are the kinds of fun that she can, she kind of enables with that program. So that might be something that you look into if you have a small number of students that you think you could support on and helping them get access to devices. >> We're going to switch over just too sharp for just a minute to some of the questions that have been offered here on the, on the chat window. And we, of course, may not be able to insert all of them in. So we're just there's one from 204 from Lynn Gregory to all panelists. Down at the bottom is that it reads is there ever a time when you say that a particular class, it's just not appropriate to online delivery. And so of course, I'm imagining in my head that there are skill based classes where it's going to be incredibly difficult to do online. Of course, I invite other folks who are participating the webinar to actually answer some of the chat questions that are being posed to you. Can you imagine any classes it yes or not? No matter how we do it and what accommodations we make, is going to be impossible to take them online. >> Yeah. >> And I think we have to rethink what it means to do instruction in those kinds of cases. That it might be that the faculty member can still put content out there for students to engage with without require air expecting anything back, I think, I mean, again, sort of thinking about, well, what are students here for? Ideally, they're here to learn from us. And certainly we know that learning by doing is often more powerful than learning just by seeing. But if students, at the very least, if they're able to see that chemistry lab happen, even if they can't participate in that themselves, if they're able to see that dance performance. So that dance instruction, even if they can't participate or or or or or be assessed on their own ability to do that. And I think there's ways to rethink how can we give students access to the kinds of information that they're looking for and while lowering the expectations for what they do in return. >> Yeah, yeah. So another question is, is there a unifying place we can send students who are struggling with the disruptions caused by the pandemic. For example, those who need help withstanding housing or food, or those who may need mental health services. >> Yeah, so in terms of things like housing and food, terrible drug grabs organization, the Hope Center for College Community and Justice is a great resource. It's hope than the number for And they have a number of resources that can kind of redirect you to localize resources, as well as national programs that can help get students access to. You might also look into wherever you are. I know here in Bloomington, we have the the Crimson covered which is A food pantry for students who who need adult. There's no sort of requirement to have to prove that you, that you need help. So looking into many campuses have those kinds of resources available. So educating yourself about the options that are out there in that sense that you can point students to, especially if they're still local. And then the Hope Center also has some useful recommendations for administrators, for those of you who are outside of the classroom to think about how can we adjust things like financial aid practices or work-study practices or kind of enrollment decisions in the wake of these kinds of disruptions, especially if we're moving to things like pass-fail options. Those pass-fail decisions can have consequences for students in many other places. Whether that's eligibility for certain internal and external scholarships, for their eligibility for financial aid. So thinking about all of the interconnected ways that our systems have to function to then facilitate students, if they're choosing the pastel option. What does that then mean? So thinking strategically in that way. And then in terms of mental health, again, because these resources are so localized, it can be hard. But one thing I would recommend would be the Crisis Text Line, especially for our students, many of whom rely on texting as their primary way of communicating with each other. This is a great resource that they don't have to make a physical phone call or they don't actually have to do verbally talk to anyone. They can just text. Connects 2741741 and it's a 24-7 resource with free mental health counseling via text that they can then put. And this isn't just for students, this is for anyone that they can then put people in touch with local councillors if they want to, especially low cost counselors if they want to continue the conversation or need help getting access to local resources. So that's a particularly useful resource. >> So we're going to go again to, to certainly the chat questions. And says, lindsay Strauss says, Have you done any work on digital divide in other countries? Ideas for how to support students in places where the Internet and devices are even less accessible. This discussion has been very US focused that the pandemic is affecting universities all over the world. Yes, we understand, Absolutely. >> I personally haven't done any research on this internationally, but I think it's certainly something that we have to be kind of a kind of heightening our, or our awareness of these issues in classes where we have an even higher expectation, but a large number of our students will be able to connect to him. >> So again, Professor Parker, just to use this, this concept, empathy and closing the empathy gap. I think that not knowing what other students outside of the US have to grapple with during this time. Means it on again, empathy and patients have to be at the forefront of what we're doing so as to not do further harm? >> Exactly, yes. >> So how do we foster community in our courses? Now? The classes have moved online. >> Yeah, but I think the answer here will depend a lot on your course and what you've already been doing. I'm a little bit reluctant to encourage creating new things that students have to learn how to use, like new message boards or New group activities that they didn't have to complete before just because it could create more stress for you and also create more stress for your students in the process. I mean, I think certainly creating place if it's optional, that's one thing. And if students can't, like creating a space where if students want to talk with each other through a canvas forum or through like a Google Doc that they're sharing. Those kinds of things are potentially a place where students can share together. But I worry about creating anything that's mandatory that would sort of push students to feel like that they might not just be in a place where they feel, I mean, certainly some of us might be looking for connection to other people right now, but others might not be, might not want to have to talk to anyone else about what they're going through. And so being mindful of it required participation in that way. It would look like, I think at the same time, if you've already set up structures where group work is part of the course, encouraging students to stay in touch with their group members, to continue using their group members as a resource to the extent that that's possible with kind of the transition to faraway places or to online learning. So for example, if the projects that my students are doing in my class, they're, they're set up as group projects and they've already been in their groups for a couple of weeks. And so I told them that if they wanted to continue doing their projects as group projects for the final project, that they're welcome to do that. And a number of groups have said that they're definitely going to do that and definitely excited about it and still keeping in touch by text. And, and so I think to the extent possible, allowing students to choose the platform that they use for that. So I don't require students to use any particular. Some of them you use group me, some of them just use email or preferred texting, kind of whatever they feel most comfortable with this. But I'm happy to let them manage their own kind of group participation instead. I think kind of giving students that option if possible, but then kind of making sure to not put extra work on students and the process is important. >> So someone else asked, What is our role in combating the spread of misinformation during the pandemic had? >> This is an interesting question. >> I mean, I think our first responsibility as instructors is to, when we are talking about this crisis, to provide as accurate as information as possible. So not, not contributing to the misinformation ourselves is the first most important thing. At the same time, I'd argue that we, it, rather than just trying to, to, to throw a bunch of information that students and say, here's what you need to know. Giving students the tools to be able to assess the accuracy of information for themselves, I would think is even more powerful in this particular moment, given that many of them, as many of us might be, are kind of absorbing all of this news coming at them and trying to figure out what's accurate, what's inaccurate? Who can we trust to? Can we not trust? In my Introduction to Sociology course, for example, I spend a class in the semester talking about how we can be good consumers of research. Essentially, I mean, these are freshman and sophomores. Most of them won't go on to be Sociology meters. And so we talk about how, and they probably will end up in careers where they're actually doing research. At least most of my students, I can generally assume that they won't be. And so because of that, if they want to be good consumers of research, that means learning how to read the news about research because that's where they're most likely to find it. And so we talk about research showing that even college students are not particularly great at distinguishing real news from fake news. And we talk about, we do it a couple of short activities in class where I kind of show them some misinformation and have them sort of figure out why this misinformation. There's tons of great Like bad graph examples out there or bad poorly reported statistics where the research itself might be good, but the way it's presented is misleading. And so getting students some of those examples, helping them learn to diagnose essentially. And this information can be really helpful. There's a couple of the Common Sense Media has a number of really useful tools for educators and for students. It's Common Sense And so they have activities for everyone from early elementary up through college students that can kind of teach students about misinformation. And they've updated their, their website with lots of great information. In the wake of that. The currents Kobe 19 epidemic that I think would be, if, if you're interested in doing this in your courses, a great set of tools to use and also just at a different level. >> Part of what we have been discussing here in the college is having chairs or deans actually formulate some, some scripts that faculty can use to essentially share information about COBIT 19 with students. So that we can minimize any sort of problem with the way that the information is being conveyed or interpreted. And so if all of us are on the same page in terms of how we're communicating, even just basic general information that minimizes some bias, some prejudice, as we are being very careful with the, with the language that we're using. They sometimes, of course, is not aligned with language that is being used at the national level. So one other question here is, do we use educators have a responsibility to push for efforts like net neutrality that are aimed at reducing the digital divide. >> Sure, so for those of you that many of you might not be familiar with this idea of net neutrality. So what does this mean? So the term is used in a couple of different ways. It can refer to rules for internet service providers that essentially make it easier for people to access some content versus others. So for example, net neutrality is aimed at reducing the ability of a, let's say a video website to being able to pay your internet service provider more money to then get their video to show more quickly, kinda cutting more bandwidth devoted to some websites than others. So net neutrality is aimed at sort of reducing the likelihood that some content will get preferential treatment online. And more generally that the term is also used to talk about making the internet accessible to everyone regardless of ability to pay. And with that second definition, we might think about kind of efforts to achieve net neutrality in terms of things like governments, whether at the local level or the state level or the national level, providing easier or more affordable access to internet. Or even things like free public Wi-Fi that we've seen in some cities, I'm kind of making access to internet. And certainly we could think about sort of how this moment kind of shows the need for internet access, potentially as a public utility. And the way that we treat things like phone service, or the way that we treat not, not cell phone service, but just general home phone service. That's sort of a public necessity that needs to be regulated and potentially offered by governments, kind of government providers to ensure that everyone has access to it. And those kinds of more public solutions have the potential to help reduce the digital divide, especially in, for example, rural areas Where the reason, the reason that the Internet is often so spotty in rural areas, even here in the US, but certainly abroad, that there, there's no financial incentive for companies to put up the towers or to connect the lines to make those areas more accessible. To give you a personal example, when my family and I first moved to Bloomington, we thought about buying a house about five, just just five miles from campus, but in a more of wooded area, kind of near a lake. And that house that was not hooked up to high-speed internet? We could have we could have gotten DSL, sort of internet through the phone lines, but we could not get high-speed Internet that my spouse works in university. It and so this was not going to fly like You're just like that. We would not be able to get by without high-speed Internet. So we actually contacted the, the major internet service provider for our little area and said, well, how much would it cost to get this house connected? It would have cost more than $25 thousand just to connect that one house to high-speed Internet that we would have had to pay that out of pocket ourselves to connect. And that's just for one house. And this is years ago now. And that how still does not have that area, still does not have access to high-speed Internet, even though it's only five miles from campus. And so thinking about how the, the cost of this discourage companies from investing in those kinds of more rural areas or even just outside of even urban areas in some cases. And so I think that there is room for that if we had sort of more public investment in things like Internet as a public utility that we can help to make sure that wherever our students are, if they are in more rural areas, if there had been international areas that don't have as high of access to show to wireless technology or to internet technology more generally that they'd be able to connect more easily. >> So professor Camargo, we're nearing the end, shorter time. And I just wanted to ask that you might have any sort of overall thoughts going back to the core of what your presentation offer so that we can take wagging me before we end our webinar here. >> Sure. I mean, I think that the key for, for what I hope you come away with today is that our students are going through an incredibly tumultuous time. And that for some of our students, especially our most vulnerable students, this might be a disruption that affects every aspect of their life, that affects their housing security, their food security, their economic stability, let alone their access to the technologies that they need to be successful in our classes. And thinking critically about that and being willing to let go of the kinds of standard expectations that we have for our students. And my hope is that administrators will think critically about how we might assess faculty on sort of the expectation that we have for our classes as well, in terms of not putting as much pressure on faculty to, to maintain the same kinds of expectations that we would have during the normal semester. I've been thinking about how can we collectively be willing to take a step back and say, what do we really need to get done this semester? What kinds of informations can we provide to students? What options can we allow them to continue engaging to the extent that they're able to do so without kind of adding to the burden, without creating more harm in the process. >> And with that, of course, I want to thank you for your time and for leading your two children at home so that you can come to Canvas to do this here. And so I also want to thank all of our participants for taking the time to join us. I hope that you found this helpful. I certainly, this is not my area of expertise and I have learned an incredible amount just through heavy organize this webinar with Professor color-code. Just a couple of reminders. We will be sending a link to the repore. So if you registered, you can expect to receive that as soon as the video is processed and ready to go. The other thing that I want to mention is that I was not focus so much on the chat window here. And so I don't see a lot of entries that said whatever is here, we will go ahead and send you a copy of a copy of in PDF. It might have meant that because this is our first time doing this, than maybe we did not enable somebody for all participants to be able to send in a question, etc. Finally, we will have a copy of the PowerPoint is to send out along with a list of resources that Professor Clark made mention of. And we will be sending those to all of you again. Thank you. Take care of yourselves and others and we encourage you and hope that you will practice empathy and patients and give a lot of grace at every opportunity that you are able to thank you so much. >> Thank you.

A letter to Introduction to Sociology students, spring 2020

Dear Students, 

I'm writing today with a heavy heart - saddened to know that I won't be seeing you all in person again soon. 

In the wake of President McRobbie's decision to hold classes online for the remainder of the semester, I wanted to reach out to offer words of reassurance and also to explain the decisions I have made about how we will proceed with our course. 

Please know that if you are feeling anxious or upset right now, you are certainly not alone. Many of us are trying to figure out how we're going to move forward amidst serious disruptions to our normal routines. Many of us are concerned about our own health or the health of people we love. Please be kind to yourselves in this difficult time. And please know that if this semester is not your best, if your grades do not reflect your full potential - it will be okay. What you learn in your courses should ultimately matter more than the grades you earn. 

That said, I understand that grades do matter. And I understand that many of you are concerned about how this semester's disruptions might impact your eligibility for opportunities at IU and in your future careers. 

Along those lines, I have decided to make changes to our course requirements that will, hopefully, reduce some of the pressure around grades. My goal in making these changes is to support your health and well-being and ensure that you all have the resources and support you need to complete the remaining work in our course as successfully as possible. To briefly summarize the key changes: 

  1. Attendance will no longer be taken in class. That said, I strongly encourage you to continue engaging with the reading and listening materials and with our weekly course meetings, which you can do by joining us for the live-streamed classes, by watching the recorded videos after class, or by reading the written transcripts of those videos and following along with the power point slides. 
  2. All remaining reading quizzes and in-class activity reflections will be optional. If you complete optional quizzes or in-class activity reflections, and you score higher on those assignments than on assignments previously submitted, I will count the higher grades.
  3. You will have the option to either complete the final exam or the final project. If you complete both, I will only count the higher of the two grades. 
  4. The grading rubric has been updated to reflect the restructured assignments. 
  5. The course schedule has been updated to reflect the extended spring break. 

You can find more detailed information about these and other changes in the revised syllabus and in an announcement (titled "ALL THE THINGS RELATED TO IU COURSES GOING ONLINE"), both of which are posted on Canvas. The syllabus is also attached here.

My hope is that these changes will give you the support and flexibility you need to continue learning and succeeding in our course. That said, I also understand that some of you are facing particularly challenging constraints. To that end, I have decided that no student in this class will receive a final grade lower than the grade they had when courses went online. Work you do for the remainder of the semester can raise your grade, but your final grade will not be lower than what it is right now.

If you are at all concerned about your ability to complete the work for this course, please let me know. I am happy to work with you to develop an individualized plan that accommodates your needs and the challenges you face. 

Please take time over break to rest and breathe. Please know that I am thinking of you and hoping you are well. 

With gratitude and respect, 

Professor Calarco

  • Keep in mind that our students didn’t sign up to take online classes
  • We can’t rely on best practices that were developed for courses where professors and students knew they would be teaching and learning online
  • Some best practices we can follow:
    • Setting reasonable expectations for what can be accomplished this semester
    • Giving students as many options as possible, while minimizing the extra work we create
    • Treating students with kindness and empathy – offering them support when we can and avoiding further harm

  • Simply requiring synchronous participation is not equitable given the challenges students may be facing (they didn’t sign up for this)
  • For many of our students, this is likely the biggest and most challenging disruption they have ever faced in their lives – our classes shouldn’t be their primary concern
  • Encourage students to continue participating and attending (synchronously or asynchronously), but not equitable to require attendance or expect students to participate at the same level they were before

  • Avoid creating more work for our students (and ourselves) - we could all use a break
  • Cut assignments that aren’t critical for achieving learning objectives
  • Give a longer window for completion to give time for students to participate in the class asynchronously
  • Consider making those assignments optional (possibly to substitute for lower grades on similar assignments from earlier in the semester)

  • Give students more time to complete the test
  • Rewrite parts of your exams - lots of critical thinking and short answer questions and also a much bigger test bank so that each student gets a different set of questions on their tests
  • Make the exams open notes and open book, and encourage students to work together to fill out a study guide with key information that is likely to be included on the test
  • With what’s happening this semester, don’t assume that students will have access to reliable internet to complete their exams, and can’t give them the option of taking the exam on paper, so consider giving students a project option that they can complete in lieu of the final, online exam

  • Give students as many options for participation and engagement as possible, in the hopes that that will help both students with disabilities and students who might be struggling with technology-related challenges
  • In terms of participation, for example, students have the option of:
    • Participating synchronously through Microsoft Teams, which provides automatic live-captioning
    • Watching the downloaded video of our classes, with the transcript posted alongside
    • Reading the text transcript and viewing the lecture slides
  • In terms of exams, give students the option of either completing the final exam online or doing a project, instead (previously, both the exam and the project were required)
  • Reach out to students individually, and especially to those who have already notified you about accommodations they need this semester, to check in and see if there is any additional support they need

  • Without a massive reduction in the power of privilege in our society, we can’t avoid giving advantages to students who don’t need them
  • Our whole educational system is set up to give advantages to affluent, white students
  • What we can do is prevent students without those privileges from falling through the cracks
  • Offer accommodations and flexibility that students can access without having to ask

  • This might not be the time for accountability
  • This is a time for empathy
  • This is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges that our students have faced in their lives
  • Most important thing I can do as an instructor is to avoid causing further harm
  • If student stops coming to class, and stops turning in assignments, and doesn’t take the final exam, don’t assume that they’re just slacking off
  • Instead, assume that they are struggling and need as much empathy as I can offer, and give them a grade based on the work they completed before classes went online; rather make this assumption and be wrong than make the first assumption and risk causing further harm

  • Educate yourself about the resources that are available, both locally and nationally
  • Compile lists of information about food banks, financial support, technology-access programs, emergency childcare programs, and more - and send those resources to your students
  • Check in with your students; ask them how they’re doing - offer them support in finding the information and resources they need
  • If your class ends up turning into just an online support group that meets once or twice a week, that might be a perfectly fine solution as well

  • If students don’t have internet access at home, they may qualify for programs that provide low-cost, high-speed wireless internet to low-income families
    • ($10 a month from Comcast)
    • AT&T’s Digital You program (also $10 a month)
    • Those programs, however, do generally require that students or their families already have qualified for other government programs like food stamps, and many college students don’t qualify for those programs on their own
  • One thing we’re doing at IU is to set up drive-in internet at campus parking lots – at the stadium, the Orange Lot now has free wifi for students and community members, and there are other similar parking lots at regional IU campuses, as well
    • You can encourage your University IT department to set up similar wifi parking lots for students
    • And you can encourage other local community organizations to do the same thing
    • Here in Bloomington, IN, the local public schools are also turning their parking lots into wifi hotspots for anyone in the community to use
  • In terms of devices, there are low-cost laptops and tablets out there - $200 laptops and even $50 Kindles are better than trying to type a paper on a phone
    • For many students, though, and especially right now, even $50 might be out of reach
    • If you have students who are in that situation and need access to devices, you might check with your university library to see if they have devices available to loan
    • You might also look into applying for the FastFunds program set up by Sara Goldrick Rab and which gives grants to faculty members to provide funds directly to students in times of need

  • If you’re concerned about your students’ access to housing and food, I’d suggest checking out the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice:
    • They have a great set of resources for each of those different areas of need:
    • The Hope Center also has recommendations for administrators on how to adjust financial aid practices, work study programs, and enrollment decisions in the wake of COVID-19
  • If you’re concerned about your students’ mental health or want to help them connect to mental health resources, one good national option is the Crisis Text Line
    • It’s a 24/7 resource that provides free, immediate support from trained crisis counselors
    • They can also help students connect to free or low-cost services in their area for ongoing support
    • Students can text CONNECT to 741741 to use the service

  • Answer depends a lot on the size of your course and what the dynamics of the class were before you moved things online
  • Not wise to create new group activities or required message boards; it will create more work for your students and for you and thereby might lead to more stress than it solves
  • If you already incorporated discussion and group work into the course before the transition online, then continue using those tools (at least in an optional way) to help students engage with the material
  • In my [Prof. Calarco’s] Introduction to Sociology class, for example:
    • Students had already formed small groups to work with in completing the final project
      • The final project is now optional (they can do that or take the final exam)
      • But I’m encouraging them to continue engaging with their groups through the channels they had already established for communication (in some cases email, or GroupMe, or text – whatever they prefer)
    • Even before this transition, I also allowed students to complete in- class assignments as group assignments (mostly short reflections on activities we did in class). Those assignments are now optional. But students still have the option of working together with classmates if they decide to complete them
    • Rather than create a whole new message board where students can communicate, continue to use the same tools you were using before

  • Present accurate information about the virus and about what research says about the most appropriate response
  • Give students the tools to find the facts for themselves
  • Talk about how to be good consumers of research
  • Discuss research showing that even college students aren’t great at distinguishing real news from fake news
  • Discuss how to critically assess the information we encounter in the news
  • Great article from that links to lots of resources for teaching students to think like “fact checkers” it’s titled “In the age of fake news, here’s how schools are teaching kids to think like fact checkers” teaching-kids-to-think-like-fact-checkers/ (by Annabelle Timsit)
  • Common Sense Media also has a really useful set of tools and tips for teachers and students from K-12 through college students-into-fact-finding-web-detectives

  • The term net neutrality is used in a few different ways
    • It can refer to rules around internet service providers making it easier for people to access some types of content than others (for example, without net neutrality, a video website might be able to pay your internet service provider to get them to give their site preferential treatment, which would mean videos from that site would load faster and have fewer buffering errors than other video websites)
    • More generally, though, the term is sometimes used to talk about making the internet accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay
  • With that second definition, we might think of efforts to achieve net neutrality in terms of things like governments providing free wifi in public places
  • Or we might think about turning internet services into public utilities rather than privately owned companies Arguably, those more public solutions would help reduce the digital divide
    • The reason internet coverage is so spotty in rural areas, for example, is that there’s no financial incentive for companies to bring internet access to those areas – the cost it would take to get internet out there is so high that it wouldn’t be made up for by the revenues brought in from the few households that were there
    • Public solutions would also help people outside of rural areas, as well, by making internet more affordable
      • Certainly, there are $10 a month internet packages, but those only cover the lowest income households
      • Many families with slightly higher incomes still can’t afford $100 a month or more for home wifi
      • And relying on cellular internet puts them at risk of high overage charges if they use more than their allotted data for the month
      • Relying on cellular internet also isn’t great if you need to do things like write a paper – that’s not something we want students doing on their phones
  • Efforts to make internet more accessible to our most vulnerable students can help them now, in this time of crisis, and they can also help students be better prepared and better connected when schools finally open again