Surveying your students about the technology they have to take an online course is a good step to take prior to designing course content. Students without a computer at home and decent Internet bandwidth will have difficulty engaging with the course materials, especially virtual conferencing platforms.
Those students, however, may not be the only ones with “speed” and connectivity issues Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may strain to provide decent connection speeds given the scale of people across the nation who are now taking their courses online and, in many cases, teleworking. Will Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Charter, all of whom argued so strenuously that the Internet is not a utility, be able to meet this demand?
Maybe not, reports The New York Times today. Students and employees working from home may no longer have access to those “big pipes” that schools and businesses have to deliver a speedy internet connection. Those of us a home are at the end of the line, and rather than drink from a pipe, we are drinking from a “garden hose” by the time we connect. The diminishment of connection speed is looming out there, threatening to make our online interaction sluggish and problematic.
The big ISPs say they are prepared for this increase in use. By next week, we will know for certain if they are.