TCAT Hohenwald Begins Trimester with COVID-19 Precautions, Laptop Loaners
May 14, 2020
Most recently when the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Hohenwald was forced to transition to remote and online studies of all technical programs in the Spring Trimester, the transition was very unexpected, yet very necessary due to the conditions associated with COVID-19 and the Corona Virus Pandemic. The transition fully became necessary with Governor Bill Lee's announcing of "Safer at Home" Orders, along with the Tennessee Board of Regents move to convert all community colleges and TCATs to online studies to protect the health and well-being of all involved.
Basically, one-hundred percent of the enrolled college students had cell phone devices to do much of the online work; however, a few students found themselves in need of a laptop to fully access the online platforms associated with delivery of instruction, such as Amatrol in the Industrial Maintenance Program or Desire2Learn (D2L).
In efforts to assist technical students with device needs, TCAT Hohenwald Administration applied immediately for an available grant through the Tennessee Board of Regents Office of Access and Diversity. The grant was available to TBR institutions to improve "access" to the newly transitioned online initiatives.
TCAT Hohenwald was fortunate to be one of the first applications received and approved for local funding. With the good news, TCAT personnel began making calls to many vendors to try to make arrangements for the procurement of ten laptops. The local area Electronic Express Store in Columbia was the first to meet the number and price point of the TCAT with all the efforts directed to assisting students with critical online needs. Concurrently, many internet companies and textbook distributors also offered free online services and platforms to college students. Fortunately, many of the TCAT students were able to take advantage of this window of opportunity.
Almost immediately, the ten available laptops were committed to students who demonstrated and voiced need. As a result of the grant, TCAT Hohenwald was able to introduce a Laptop Loaner Program, as a new service to enrolled TCAT students. The program is very simple, the student signs a laptop loaner agreement for the period of need, and has "ownership" and responsibility of the laptop for the period of the agreement and/or enrollment.
The Laptop Loaner Program was so successful, the TCAT may consider investing in funding to secure more. Many of the TCAT Programs have online platforms that align curriculum and studies with online labs or simulation that would be beneficial for continued use. With consideration and discussion of further outbreaks associated with upcoming flu seasons and fall, the laptop loaner may prove to be extremely beneficial.