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Degrees of separation

Iowa Lakes takes measures to ensure all students have access to learning

April 6, 2020
by Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Iowa Lakes Community College, like the vast majority of colleges and universities in the U.S., has moved its classes to online environments as the Coronavirus has made conducting in-person classes unsafe.

Delaine Hiney, facilities manager at Iowa Lakes, said, "Faculty worked diligently to design their on-line classes to best serve and engage our students." Online classes began Wednesday, March 21.

The college already had a Distance Education Office, and that office, along with the Help Desk are assisting students with technology challenges.

The private sector is a source of help, too, Hiney said. A new Federal Communications Commission pledge ensures that Americans will not lose their broadband or internet connectivity for the next 60 days.

Comcast: Free WiFi for 2 months to low-income families; all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.

n Charter: Free Internet offer for 2 months.

n AT&T: Open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families.

n Verizon: No special offers at this time, but following the FCC agreement.

n Sprint: Following FCC agreement and providing unlimited data to existing customers. Starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.

n T-Mobile: Following FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.?

Comcast: Free WiFi for 2 months to low-income families; all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.

n Charter: Free Internet offer for 2 months.

n AT&T: Open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families.

n Verizon: No special offers at this time, but following the FCC agreement.

n Sprint: Following FCC agreement and providing unlimited data to existing customers. Starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.

n T-Mobile: Following FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge.?

Hiney said additionally all instructors and faculty advisors are available remotely to assist students. The college's professional tutors are available to all students to meet over the phone or on Zoom at scheduled times during the day. An app called Smarthinking offers online tutoring in more than 150 subject areas. Students can get one-on-one homework help in minutes and have the option to make an appointment with a tour or ask a question and come back later for the response.

Educational counselors and online peer tutors are also available.

Graduation at Iowa Lakes is scheduled for May 8tat the Estherville Campus.

"We are exploring a virtual ceremony in the event we are not able to hold it on campus," Hiney said.

This is the season Iowa Lakes is usually buzzing with activity between events involving current students and admissions visits and registration for incoming students.

The admissions office is adding new visits and orientation days for later in the spring. Registration is now available for summer and fall classes, and the Iowa Lakes Community College website now has virtual tours of the Estherville and Emmetsburg campuses. The first student orientation is set for June 15-17.

Hiney said 14 international students who remain on he Estherville campus are being fed by Dining Services, with each student staying in their own room for social distancing.

Hiney said, "The community can send well-wishes their way as many are a long way from home and unable to return home."

 
 
 

 

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