The COVID-19 Pandemic impacted students on many levels but none more than the shift to virtual learning. In response to the major change in classroom instruction, UA Little Rock loaned out laptops and web cameras for student use. Collaboration between IT Services, Ottenheimer Library, the Provost Office, and Student Retention Initiatives focused efforts to purchase, inventory, and loan out laptops and web cameras for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
The UA Little Rock Center for Survey Research surveyed students to determine their technology needs as the campus transitioned to virtual learning. The determination was made that laptops were the highest need. To address this necessity, a campus collaboration among units focused on student success, maximized processes, and support that already existed on campus. IT Services assisted in the sourcing and purchasing of laptops and web cameras. The Office of Student Retention Initiatives utilized a new student self-referral form to gather information from students who needed technology to continue learning. Additionally, the Ottenheimer Library helped with the housing and distribution of the equipment.
At the end of the Fall 2020 semester, a survey was distributed to the more than 200 students who checked out technology devices. The goal was to learn how the laptop and webcam loan program supported their student success. The results showed that 67.5% of students who were loaned laptops would have withdrawn from the semester if not for access to the technology. This multi-unit partnership has now supported over 300 students by giving them access to high-quality technology that has allowed them to continue their education at UA Little Rock.