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CSULB seeks to expand access to technology for students on and off campus

Long Beach State’s Academic Technologies Services, Information Technology Services and University Student Union are working together to meet the technological needs of students on and off campus.

In an effort to accommodate those in need of these resources, CSULB has offered students hotspots and laptops as well as implemented the Open Lab computer lab located on the second floor of the USU.

According to Dennis LuPresto, director of Academic Technology Support Services, ATS and ITS collaborated to create the Open Lab as a space for students needing an area to complete homework and class assignments “if they didn’t have technology or a good learning environment at home.”

The university has also expanded Wi-Fi coverage across campus for individuals still coming to school.

“It was part of a campus-wide initiative to create a student technology hub for fall semester,” said Bryon Jackson, assistant vice president of ITS. “We wanted to provide them with resources that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.”

The second floor of the University Student Union now serves as a computer lab for students who need access to technology needs. Matt James/ Daily Forty-Niner

The Open Lab requires a screening process that includes the standard coronavirus pre-screening form that all students are required to complete to come to campus, as well as a reservation and a quick temperature check at the front desk.

Computers can be reserved for three hours at a time and are kept six feet apart to promote social distancing.

While other locations were considered, including the Kinesiology building and basketball courts, the USU met the requirements necessary to support the Open Lab.

“The USU was going to be one of the open buildings this semester, and they were well prepared to handle the necessary health care precautions and check and balances to have students come in and use the facility,” Jackson said.

The lab is currently equipped with 20 PCs, two iMacs and two printers relocated from the Horn Center, which is currently closed for renovations. While the Open Lab can accommodate up to 20 students, it typically has plenty of computers to spare.

“About 80% to 90% of the computers go unused,” said Dean Vis, third-year business student and USU building manager.

Students can get free or discounted software through the Software Depot via the myCSULB student portal and can also use the Student Virtual Lab to gain access to software that otherwise wouldn’t be available due to licensing or processing concerns.

Map showing where the WiFi hotspots can be located on campus.

The campus’ interactive map has been updated to show where Wi-Fi access and safe seating can be found, as well as hand sanitizing stations and outdoor seating.

Prior to this semester, hotspots and laptops were only available to students who were determined to have the greatest amount of financial need, but these resources are now available to all CSULB students.

Many of these resources still go unclaimed, though. According to Jackson, the university still has devices available to disperse.

“Right now, we have 1,000 hotspots, and we’re close to 1,000 laptops that we can hand out,” Jackson said.

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