CSUB adjusts to virtual campus life


Clarissa Alderete

Pictured: IT Assistant Maira Mendez, Service Center Supervisor Bryan Ellison, and IT Assistant Abraham Chipres in Lab A of the Walter Stiern Library.

Caleb Melson, Reporter

  CSU Bakersfield students and nonessential faculty have been forced off campus and into virtual instruction since President Lynnette Zelezny’s announcement on March 12. 

The decision to go from face-to-face instruction to virtual was made in response to the coronavirus outbreak that has affected nearly every aspect of CSUB’s normal operation. 

  To help facilitate this transition to online schooling, as well as accommodate students who rely on CSUB’s resources, Information Technology Services has been lending out Chromebooks, webcams, and MoFi hotspots free of charge. 

  The MoFi hotspot provides internet access through a wireless carrier which is paid for by the school. This allows any student to have home internet access regardless of their resources. 

  Information Technology Services (ITS) started March 19 just lending Chromebooks, but as they surveyed students, they found that many were in need of other tools like webcams and wireless internet. 

  The director of Information Technology Support Services (ITS), Richard Nelson, claimed that obtaining webcams and MoFi hotspots was no easy task.  He gives a lot of credit to Zelezny and Interim Provost Vernon Harper. 

  “The President and Provost have been amazing, super helpful and resourceful in bringing in funding”, said Nelson. 

  Nelson also showed gratitude for his staff who, he said, have been working non-stop during this pandemic to provide students with the resources necessary to be successful. 

  “The professionals that work for me have been able to do some really amazing things in a short amount of time,” Nelson said. 

  ITS has also been able to provide a virtual computer lab to students who rely on software like AutoCAD and R-Studio to do their studies.  

  Chris Diniz, CSUB Deputy Chief Information Officer, has been heading this virtual computer lab, which launched April 3. 

  The virtual computer lab is available on any home computer.  To access it, students can type vcl.csub.edu into their search bar, and enter their usual NetID and password.  The virtual computer lab gives students access to all the software that would normally be available on computers at CSUB. 

  ITS lending hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, with no appointment necessary.  

Other on-campus resources like the Writing Resource Center have found what they believe to be the best possible alternative, as they now offer “walk-in” Zoom meetings. 

  Sidney Russell, a sixth year dual major in English and psychology, is a tutor for the Writing Resource Center.   

  Russell called the shift to walk-in only Zoom meetings “the next best thing.” 

  Russell also noted that the WRC has been able to keep all their tutors’ hours the same, which the tutors are extremely grateful for. 

  “With the screen share option on Zoom, it makes tutoring subjects like English much easier,” Russell said. 

  Prior to the transition to virtual instruction, the WRC held walk-ins as well as appointments 9am-5pm Monday through Thursday, and 9am-1pm on Fridays.  They still hold the same hours, but now only take walk-ins via Zoom. 

  The WRC hit the ground running and was able to transition to Zoom shortly after Zelezny’s announcement. 

  The WRC’s Zoom link is https://csub.zoom.us/j/100218222 

  Andrew Marquez is a third-year business major who recently utilized the WRC’s Zoom feature. 

  Marquez described a feeling of relief when he found out he could still use the WRC. 

  “I really needed help on a paper and I was really happy to see that the stuff I normally use didn’t just go away because everything is closed,” Marquez said. 

  Marquez also noted that being able to access the WRC from his house was almost better than going in as he had done before the campus closed.  He added that a Zoom feature like this one could be a good addition going forward.  

  “I think it would be cool if they kept something like this going next semester, especially for people who have a lot of online classes,” Marquez said. 

  With finals soon approaching and the spring semester drawing to a close, students like Andrew Marquez will be utilizing every service they can.