Aug 19 2021

4 Considerations for Long-Term One-to-One Programs

You gave every student a laptop during the pandemic. Now, most are returning to campus. Are your networks and systems prepared?

One-to-one programs in higher education are starting to trend as colleges and universities see the value of offering devices and laptops for student success. That said, these programs are not a light undertaking and require a thoughtful approach.

At the start of the pandemic, higher education institutions rushed to buy and circulate a large number of devices. However, it takes more than that to run a successful and permanent one-to-one program. Emergency remote learning won’t suffice for the new academic year, and emergency one-to-one programs won’t be adequate either.

Here are some key considerations for strategically managing these laptops and devices on and off campus.

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1. Upgrading Networks Before Students Return to Campus

It’s time to consider whether campus networks can support this influx of devices and laptops. After all, your campus could be seeing a 50 percent increase in laptops.

Students who didn’t have laptops worked in libraries before the pandemic. But when everyone has the convenience of a laptop, you need to prepare for an increase in students using the internet in residence halls. Some may be streaming hybrid classes from their dorm rooms.

To find out if you need to increase wireless access points in dormitories, it’s best to conduct a wireless site survey and wireless health check. A site survey gives you a roadmap for designing an optimal wireless network for your specific institution. Where might potential interference be coming from? Where are the potential coverage issues? A site survey can recommend solutions for any problems with networks.

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2. Preparing to Secure a Growing Number of Devices

When there are more connected devices, there are more opportunities for hackers. To address these security risks, it’s important to ensure that wireless networks can verify users and encrypt transmitted data.

If your IT department does not have the bandwidth to tackle this effectively, working with a partner like CDW•G can help. We have certified solution architects who can understand your goals, requirements and budgets. After conducting assessment reviews of your existing environments, we can offer detailed vendor evaluations and recommendations.

We also provide future design and proof of concept for configurations and deployment of the solution chosen. Our solution architects offer a full-stack experience by supporting every phase of the process, including ongoing lifecycle support.

RELATED: How universities are improving remote device security.

3. Maintaining and Managing Laptops and Devices

Do you have a plan for when laptops and devices break on campus? What about students who are streaming classes from out of state? To prevent learning loss, you need to have detailed and strategic plans for these scenarios.

We helped Shenandoah University get devices and laptops to remote students across the country, and we similarly can handle replacements for lost, stolen or damaged laptops in disparate locations.

4. Building Community and School Pride

Most important, your one-to-one program should create a sense of community.

After all, the purpose of these programs is to help students succeed. That message needs to be effectively communicated to those who are on campus and those who are learning from afar.

At Shenandoah University, we helped pass that message to students by taking care of custom imaging, laser engraving and kitting. We made sure that all incoming freshmen received their devices with a welcome letter that included a variety of custom logo stickers, which created an instant connection with students miles away.

It all starts with a strategic plan — and a partner that can execute it.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

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