USG Continues to Increase Wireless Connectivity
Thursday, May 7th, 2020
Since shifting to online instruction March 30, 2020, the University System of Georgia (USG) has increased services and support across the state to facilitate internet connectivity for students and digital learning.
Of particular use to students in rural areas of the state, USG recently added the free “eduroam” service for all 26 USG institutions, allowing users to connect to campus WiFi through their account no matter which USG institution they may be visiting.
Aimed specifically at higher education, eduroam is a wireless service that will allow faculty, staff, and students to easily access wireless networks at thousands of locations, including more than 600 colleges, universities, and research facilities in the U.S. and in more than 100 countries.
With USG institutions transitioned to online learning for the remainder of the semester and summer, eduroam brings additional value to faculty, staff, and students who are now working from various locations in Georgia and across the country. The new service will allow the campus community to securely and seamlessly obtain wireless access at all participating institutions worldwide, making it easier to connect for students who may not be near their institution but are close to another USG or participating institution while pursuing their studies digitally.
The University System has recently coordinated with the chief information officers at each of its institutions to fast-track implementation. The service is now available to all faculty, staff and students throughout the USG.
The Georgia Public Library Service, a USG agency, and the University of Georgia Extension Service has been offering limited services while their facilities are closed to the public, including WiFi outside their buildings where students and the public can access the internet from their vehicles while maintaining safe social distancing.
Other state agencies have made it easier to connect as well. Governor Brian P. Kemp announced the website broadband.georgia.gov to help Georgians find locations to which they can drive for accessing WiFi around the state, made available from telecommunications cooperatives and government agencies.
The “Keep Teaching USG” initiative launched resources to help faculty transition to online instruction at https://www.usg.edu/keep_teaching_usg. The site includes teaching guides, tips and contacts about online teaching, virtual lab resources, proctored exam alternatives, digital accessibility, finding free and open educational resources and copyright and fair use guidance.
USG continues to support faculty, students and staff, with safety as the top priority, as it works to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia and fulfill its purpose of graduating students. Institutions are communicating regularly with students about the resources available, and faculty are making greater effort to stay in contact with their students. Advisors, counselors and professors are connecting with students through technology to understand their unique circumstances and coach them through the challenges of online learning.
USG launched a new website aimed to be a resource for students of all ages at https://www.usg.edu/keep_learning_usg/. It covers everything from having the right mindset to finding internet access.