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Distance Learning and the Digital Divide

Watch the complete panel from Streaming Media East Connect, Education Video Takes Center Stage, on the Streaming Media YouTube channel.

Learn more about EDU streaming at Streaming Media West 2020.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Liam Moran: The digital divide, the homework gap, the last mile issue with network connectivity: How do we help students whose school shut down and they don't have internet at home? I know Comcast has a $10-a-month service for people that are on SNAP program, and things like that. At our university, we have a bus system that drives a shuttle from, from Champaign-Urbana to Chicago, and it has high-speed Wi-Fi in it. So we moved those buses and parked them in poorer parts of town to provide internet access. And also the park district added Wifi to a lot of the parks where students can go to study online. So, Justin, do you have any any reports from Columbus about the response to digital divide issues?

Justin Troyer: Pretty early on--being the huge size that we are--we added Wi-Fi to several of the parking lots on our main campus, and then also at each of our regionals. So they still need to physically come to campus, but the students can come park in any of the designated parking lots and have Wi-Fi that's as fast as they would get in the dorms or any of the rooms. That's as far as we can reach for the last mile, but we've made that available to any of the students that need to get connectivity. They can come to campus and still remain physically distant by parking and staying in their car. That's assuming they have their own laptop or some sort of physical device like that, but we've also implemented a digital flagship initiative where we're giving iPads to the students. So they should have connectivity and a device to utilize that connectivity.

Liam Moran: There's also more general advice of using an encoding ladder where you've got some low-bitrate streams that are offered for people that just have bad networks. And then, for firewalls and things like that, you know, our advice is always, "Don't use YouTube because YouTube is blocked in China and military bases, a lot of corporate firewalls, that sort of thing."

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