F-D Technical College offers free mobile hotspots to online students

Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) has loaned nearly 300 MiFi routers to its students in an effort to make higher education more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. These pocket-sized routers, also known as mobile hotspots, allow students with devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets to connect to FDTC’s network. MiFi routers allow students the ability to complete their coursework while following COVID-19 social distancing protocols. “For many of our students, having access to free MiFi’s is a real game changer,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Marc David said. “Not only does it help increase student success, but it also helps close the digital divide in the Pee Dee region.” FDTC’s effort is part of the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff’s (ORS) Online Learning Initiative to provide more learning opportunities to students whose higher education experience is being hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Internet is a gateway to education, knowledge, opportunity and has changed the way students learn, seek employment and engage with their communities in the 21st century,” said librarian Linda Coe. “Internet access is critical to our students’ educational success, especially during this pandemic. The library is vital for student engagement and success and welcomes the opportunity to partner with the College’s Information Technology Department and the FDTC Online Learning Initiative.” FDTC student Tina McKenzie thought she was going to have to drop out of college until she found out about the free mobile hotspot. “I filled the application forms out, and within a few days was notified that I was approved and to come pick it up,” McKenzie said. “This device has helped me so much in just the one week I have had it. I have been able to stay on top of my classes, review my instructor’s lectures and so much more. Being able to login and do assignments from home and after work has drastically improved my thoughts and determination to be successful. The programs that FDTC has been able to offer to me and all other students are truly heaven-sent.” FDTC Nursing student Graham McKain says the MiFi is saving him money, because he didn’t have to invest in additional technology to complete his coursework. “Before the pandemic, I was able to get by with just my phone’s data plan, but now that class has gone online, my data usage has increased to the point where it’s hard to afford,” McKain said. Student Monica Harper is overjoyed with her MiFi. She was using someone else’s Internet to complete her coursework. Harper said, “I just want to thank you so much for this hotspot. It has literally saved me! I was using someone else’s Internet and now I don’t have to!” For more information about the MiFi program at FDTC, contact Linda Coe at linda.coe@fdtc.edu or at 843-661-8034.

Author: Rachel Howell

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