UT-Austin students experience Wi-Fi connectivity problems with virtual learning

Katya Bandouil

Neuroscience freshman Jennifer Rodriguez was taking a live online benchmark in Psychology 301 when her internet connection cut out. 

“I ended up missing the grade and my overall grade really took a hit from that,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just frustrating because whenever you want to bring back the internet, you have to wait a couple minutes and sometimes I can’t even revive it. I have to use my hotspot on my phone.”

More than 45% of students are taking all of their classes online, according to a Aug. 11 message from Jay Hartzell. Some students have reported experienced issues with their Wi-Fi during online classes, leading to missed quizzes and learning opportunities as they attempt to connect.

Rodriguez said she experiences Wi-Fi connectivity issues when her four family members are online during the day, causing heavy internet traffic. Rodriguez said it has been difficult to participate in class when her Wi-Fi is unstable.

“It’s kind of embarrassing because sometimes when teachers call you out and they’re like ‘I can’t hear you. You’re lagging,’” Rodriguez said. 

According to Texas One Stop, students can fill out the Cost of Attendance appeal form to request an increase in their financial aid package for technology expenses. Students may also contact ITS Customer Support Services for technical support.

English sophomore Angelica Whisnant said connectivity issues in her home forces her to attend all of her virtual classes from her living room.

“I am able to talk to everybody, but the problem with that is that I have no privacy,” Whisnant said. “When I’m trying to do my work and I have to present something, there’s so much movement going on behind me or there’s a lot of background noise.”

Physics and astronomy Akiko Barreras said her Wi-Fi disconnected while she was working for the Sanger Learning Center. The same day, she had two live classes and homework that required online access.

“When (the Wi-Fi connection) went out, I realized how much I had to do that needed Wi-Fi,” Barreras said. “I went to campus and tried to do everything I could think of that I needed the internet for.”

Rodriguez said professors could help accommodate students by implementing asynchronous instruction in the case that students are experiencing challenges with internet connectivity.

“(Something that) can help is having the classes allow for students to pace themselves,” Rodriguez said.