Access to the Internet
Many providers are doing what they can to help students make the shift online by providing free high-speed access. The Federal Communications Commission Agreement states providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots for increased accessibility to the internet. Please visit the following websites for the latest details on how to sign-up and leverage these services. The North Carolina Department of Information Technology is providing a comprehensive list of internet and mobile services providers that offer free or low-cost Internet service at this time. You should contact the companies, or look at their COVID-19 response information. Many are offering expanded benefits like free data or international calls.
Strategies for Better Internet Access
You can also use the tips below to use your mobile phone as a hotspot to provide access to your laptop. There are also tips to maximize your bandwidth.
- Turn your cell phone into a hotspot to provide access to your computer if you don’t have High-Speed Internet (see resources above)
- If you do not have a great signal and video/access is breaking up, disconnect or turn off other devices using the internet such as TV’s and Smart Home devices streaming content, disconnect your phone from WiFi if you are using your computer for access. Also, take turns using the internet with others in your household.
- If you have older wireless technology, you may have better speeds using a cable to connect to your cable router instead of using Wi-Fi in your residence.
- To make sure neighbors are not streaming from your service, change your password on your router.
Strategies to Reduce Computer Fatigue
As we move towards an online environment, please consider how you are using your computer. A laptop was never intended to be a “full” time computer. If you have a docking station or desktop computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse available that will reduce stress on your body as you spend more time on the computer, please review these ergonomic setups and try to make your environment as ergo-friendly as possible.
- How to ergonomically optimize your workspace
- Setting up an ergonomic computer station
- Create a study space
- Consider reducing the strain on your wrists/hands by using voice recognition technology.
- Consider reducing your exposure to blue light in your monitor screen by adjusting blue light filters on your devices.
- Consider installing read & write software to support engaging with digital documents in multiple ways. This tool supports online reading, writing, note-taking, and research. Read and Write software is available for use with Android, iPad, Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, and Edge. You can download and install versions of the software from the NC State software page. Online video tutorials and playlists are available.
- Consider planning and time management for your online courses. You may need more frequent breaks away from the computer.
- Use the resources below to design a daily routine.
- Planning and Time Management Strategies.
- Staying Ahead with Effective Time Management
- Consider using an assignment calculator to help you break assignments and projects into smaller tasks.
- Try Google Tasks, Homework Homie, or MyHomework to keep track of assignments due.
- Use the Study Buddy feature in the NC State GPS app to others to study with.
Textbook Access Alternatives
Strategies for Students with Hearing Loss
As we move into online learning, please let the DRO or your instructor know if you need assistance turning on captions for video content.
- Free RelayNC Services can be used to support talking over the phone or interacting in live meetings with NC State instructors or staff.
- Consider using Google Meet for communicating with other students and instructors as automatic live captioning is available in Google Hangouts/Meet.
- How to turn on subtitles and closed captions for iPad/iPhone
- How to turn on captioning in Android devices
- Set up Visual Alerts in Windows 10
- Set up Visual Alerts in Mac OS
- The National Deaf Center.org has a great tip sheet: Take Control of Your Online Learning: Tips for Deaf College Students
Strategies for Students with Vision Loss
- Use text to speech support when available. Consider installing Read & Write.
- All devices have tools to help make your device easier to see.
- If you are thinking about moving to a screen reader, check out the free screen reading software NVDA, which is being used by more people than JAWS.
- If you need assistance in reading math, try Equatio.
- Introduction to using a screen reader in Microsoft Word.
Strategies for Visual Learners
Note: Automatic transcription does not replace the need to have multimedia captioned for those with hearing loss
- Live transcription can benefit students who may learn better by having visual focus when listening for periods, such as listening to a podcast.
- Live transcription can benefit those students who find it difficult to type or write for long periods of time, such as students with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Repetitive Stress Injuries, or Autism.
- Live transcription can support ESL learners as they see and hear the processed language.
- Webcaptioner is a browser-based tool that presents captioning of auditory content in a separate window. You can export the transcript as a document. (Free)
- Otter is a cloud-based tool that works on a mobile device or browser. It is an audio recording tool that has automatic transcription, also, it has a highlighting feature so you can highlight important statements. You can embed pictures in the transcription, edit the transcript as well as share and export the transcript. The free version allows 600 minutes of recording, there is an educational discount of 50% off the normal pricing or about $4.50 per month.
Strategies to Support Writing
- Use an assignment calculator to break your writing assignment into manageable tasks.
- Use mind-mapping software to brainstorm organize your thoughts and ideas.
- Use Voice Recognition to get your thoughts out on paper.
- Use Grammarly to check for grammar mistakes.
- Use Text to Speech software to have your paper read back to you.
Strategies for Staying Focused
- Strict Workflow is a Chrome add-on that will help you stay more productive at work by temporarily blocking social and other time-wasting websites. It blocks the sites for 25 minutes allowing you to work distraction-free and then will remove the block for five minutes. You can repeat until all your work is done.
- Stay Focused is a Chrome add-on, StayFocused increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites.
Strategies for Supporting Math
- Independent Learning Math Tools in OneNote
- AEM: Accessible Math Tools for the Classroom
- Microsoft Math Solver will help you solve and graph problems.
- EquatIO will allow you to write math easier and have it read aloud to you.
- NC State online videos – maybe hearing concepts taught from a different instructor will help.
Strategies for Supporting Mental Health
- Define a new routine using time management strategies:
- Psycom highlights the best mental health apps for 2020 and experts weigh in about just how effective they are as an alternative treatment
Strategies for Staying Connected
Although we are encouraged to physically stay safe from one another to contain virus infections, we can still connect using technology for studying and socializing. Use the following tools to connect with other classmates, friends, family through apps like Skype, Facetime, Google Meet, Zoom.