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Editor’s note: ITS Communications student workers reported and wrote this article.

Anne Claire Foreman holds her kitten while working on her laptop
Anne Claire Foreman studies at her family’s home

The coronavirus pandemic caused many drastic changes for students at UNC-Chapel Hill, interrupting the Spring semester.

Professors continue to demonstrate increased lenience in assignment deadlines and grading to accommodate students, but the change has still been difficult. Students now rely on ITS assistance more than ever as they navigate technology use away from campus.

Kudos to faculty

Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought, rising senior Anne Claire Foreman is prouder than ever to be a Tar Heel. All of her professors seamlessly transitioned to a virtual classroom and made themselves extremely available and flexible, she said.

Because her major in the Hussman School is writing-intensive, she did not face a particularly difficult transition technology-wise. Additionally, her professors’ competency in Zoom made the transition to the platform easy.

“Working at ITS has taught me how to be resourceful with technology, a skill that has undoubtedly aided me throughout my transition,” Foreman said.

Courtney Loughran works on her laptop
Courtney Loughran at her Chapel Hill apartment

Rising senior Courtney Loughran felt relatively comfortable throughout the University’s transition to remote learning due to the campus closures. She previously took classes in an online setting and even used Zoom last year. Overall, she felt that the University, especially ITS, supported her through the transition.

ITS info valuable

As a student worker for the ITS Communications unit, Loughran appreciates how ITS sent out information about where to find certain resources that might become necessary for remote work, such as how to access Zoom, Microsoft Teams and VPN.

“Since I worked remotely for a few hours per week with ITS Communications already, the complete out-of-office shift was not too difficult to manage,” she said.

Experiences vary

While Foreman and Loughran have not faced many challenges with technology, other students have.

Rising senior Catherine Castoral, a global studies major, said that she had Wi-Fi connectivity issues and had to learn how to reset a Wi-Fi router.

Similarly, rising senior Ashley Craft, who is studying peace, war and defense, said, “We had to upgrade our Wi-Fi so that I could do online classes because my sister, mom and dad are all working from home.”

Julia Masters
Julia Masters

Rising senior Julia Masters, who is studying journalism and political science, felt that professors navigating new technology and connectivity issues impacted her transition to virtual learning.

“Though my learning has been affected with limited discussion, I’ve been able to see my classmates and professors unite to help and support each other,” she said. “This transition to virtual learning has shown me the true spirit of the Carolina community.”

Confident in tech solutions

Connectivity issues or not, the pandemic deeply impacted usual UNC-Chapel Hill operations. Still, students said they feel confident that tech solutions will be delivered if further problems arise. Our Carolina community might be apart in physical distance, but never at heart.

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