Why Every College Campus Needs Reliable Wi-Fi in 2021

Written by Dan Star

Why Every College Campus Needs Reliable Wi-Fi in 2021

College students once relied on expensive textbooks and a vast library selection of printed materials to get through school to boost their academic performance. Yet, since the internet’s introduction in the ‘80s and later Wi-Fi, many have learned that a reliable Wi-Fi connection like that provided by Groove Technology Solutions can make all the difference in their scholarly endeavors. 

Wi-Fi is a crucial tool for college students. Nearly 80% of students reported that a wireless internet connection made their school experience much more manageable, and 75% said it earned them better grades. Wi-Fi allows equal access to learning materials, catering to students of various learning styles and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

College faculty and administrators overwhelmingly advocate for the use of Wi-Fi in their institutions. Still, some view it as a double-edged sword due to unethical applications of the technology like cheating during exams. Fortunately, Wi-Fi’s advantages far outweigh the drawbacks, nearly washing them out entirely. Below are some of the primary reasons why college students benefit from campus Wi-Fi. 

Wi-Fi Access Improves Students’ Academic Performance

Although the internet only arose in the ‘80s, it has rapidly become a core component in students’ educational experiences worldwide. The digital network has placed more information at scholars’ fingertips than ever before, and because of the wealth of information – readily available at anyone’s beck and call – the tool has become a staple in higher education, especially. 

Past surveys show that general student sentiment reflects this necessity. Even before tablets and smartphones hit the market and were owned by even 50% of the nation’s population, 90% of people believed that Wi-Fi access was just as essential to students’ education as a classroom or computer. Some students even went so far as to assert the following:

  • 79% of students claimed that the wireless internet connection made their college experience significantly easier
  • 75% of students believed that having Wi-Fi access boosted their performance, helping them earn better grades
  • 44% of students assert that Wi-Fi helped increase their productivity levels (many used Wi-Fi to get ahead on assignments while they were still attending class, instead of waiting until they arrived home or to their dorm room)

Clearly, Wi-Fi is a crucial facet in any student’s performance in a higher education setting. Of course, this tool is a double-edged sword. After all, not all students would use it to work ahead on their assignments but feed their distracted tendencies instead. Still, there is no denying that college scholars are much better off with a wireless internet connection, as it boosts productivity and accessibility to information.

Wireless Internet Levels the Playing Field

It’s no secret that securing a college education is one of the most prominent activities that separate people of varying socioeconomic and racial backgrounds in the U.S. Numerous studies have demonstrated that wealth and ethnicity are significant factors in influencing a student’s likelihood of: 

    • Enrollment in an institution for higher education: People who fall into the highest quartile of socioeconomic status are more likely to be enrolled in a college than their peers in families with lower earning capacities. Specifically, the difference is 78% enrollment for the former and 28% enrollment for the latter
      • Note: A student’s socioeconomic status also plays a strong role in the type of higher education institution they enroll in. Those with lower earning capacities tend to gravitate toward community colleges, which, unfortunately, tend to have fewer resources than other colleges, including high-speed wireless internet devices and access. 
  • Completion of the degree: Poorer students are more likely to enroll in community college institutions with fewer or lower-quality resources. This makes them less likely to complete their degree. 
  • Attendance within a specific period after high school: Only 14% of students who grew up in homes in the “low socioeconomic status” (SES) earned their Bachelor’s degree within eight years after graduating high school. Twenty-nine percent of students in the middle SES category completed their B.S., while 60% of high SES students got their B.S. within the same period. 

So, how does Wi-Fi address all these issues? Although a high-speed wireless internet connection isn’t exactly the key to eliminating wealth inequality from the U.S., it functions as the Great Equalizer in many cases. According to the Internet Society, access to the internet can help “rectify inequalities in education experienced by girls and women,” as well as many other marginalized groups. 

How Does Wi-Fi Make a Difference in Education Equality?

Experts assert that Wi-Fi access is critical to achieving a future wherein students of all kinds can receive “inclusive and equitable quality education” and learning opportunities that can (and will) last a lifetime. Part of what can make this possible is the fact that school administrators and educators will not be burdened by excess costs and poor-quality resources for teaching. Why? 

Digital textbooks have been repeatedly proven to be significantly better than printed alternatives. Since these educational tools are better for the faculty, they are relieved of excess stress and burden, which inevitably creates a better experience for their students. Key reasons why digital textbooks are so much better than printed educational materials are as follows:

  • There is no delivery period. Students and faculty can receive their educational materials immediately, maximizing their productivity levels in the first week or two of school. (This eliminates the awkward introductory phase where students hardly learn or accomplish anything). 
  • Digital textbooks help students and faculty save money. If students can download their learning materials instead of buying printed copies, they can save a lot of money. Some students pay between $600-900 per semester for textbooks alone! Many report that these prices have major (46%) or modest (41%) impacts on their finances, ultimately hurting their experiences. 
  • Downloaded books don’t require physical storage. Imagine the last time you walked through your college campus. Recall how compact some of the dorm rooms are. Students shouldn’t have to use up all their storage space for their giant textbooks. Instead, they can either refer to their digital textbooks online as-needed or keep the downloaded file on a computer. 
  • Freedom to mark up books for study purposes. One of the biggest pet peeves that many college students face when renting learning materials is the restriction against highlighting and note-taking on the pages. On a downloaded copy of the book, they are free to mark it up as much as they like to help them remember all the critical details required for exams. 
  • Downloaded books are more portable than printed books. Students who download their textbooks will be in a much better position to access their learning materials wherever they are – on campus or off. Some books can’t be downloaded, though, so reliable Wi-Fi throughout the campus is essential to maintaining optimal portability. 

Including Various Communities in the “Information Society”

Another way that Wi-Fi access in college levels the playing field for students of various backgrounds is that it invites everyone into an “information society.” This term arose years ago in reference to the abundance of data accessible to people around the globe through all sorts of platforms, digital and printed, including television, newspapers, and books. 

When people of all backgrounds and all educational levels are given fair access to reliable internet, they can become a part of this information society. This broad inclusion increasing the availability of “information” to those less privileged. This means they’ll have a firmer grasp on the components that comprise the concept of information, including:

  • Meaningful data: This refers to details about someone or something that was acquired through systematic investigation, for one reason or another. 
  • Communication and reception: When students can access information for themselves, this encourages in-depth communication between participants in higher education. Plus, they can draw conclusions and connections for themselves. This allows them to engage in more frequent, genuine critical thinking patterns than they could without a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
  • Effects of communication: The type and extent of information available to an individual directly affect what they do with that information. For instance, someone who has free access to the internet can learn far more about Indigenous culture and history than a person who relied only on biased textbooks and will be more empathetic to those communities.

A reliable Wi-Fi connection on a college campus isn’t only about convenience. It improves the quality, fairness, and objectiveness of an individual’s education. With this resource at their fingertips, a student is not at the mercy of whatever the administrators and faculty wish to provide them. Instead, they can go out and retrieve more data for themselves to create a more well-rounded perspective on their lives. 

The World is Moving Toward Remote Learning

Wi-Fi has gained more importance than ever because of 2020’s events. Students worldwide have been forced to adapt their public educational experience into a private one as social distancing requirements pushed many schools to close their physical campuses and migrate to online platforms. Although this heavily depends on students having a reliable Wi-Fi connection at home, campuses need it, too.

This is because some classes have adopted a hybrid model of education, where classes or entire programs are partially available online, and the rest can be accessed through the internet. Without a reliable Wi-Fi connection, students have only partial access to the programs they’re enrolled in – and that they’ve already paid for. 

Worse, if students lack Wi-Fi altogether, they’re barred from the quality education they deserve. It’s essential that college campuses step in and fill this void; otherwise, some students would be barred from a college experience altogether, even if it is remote. Social distancing on college campuses can remain in effect while standard internet access allows the curriculum to proceed as usual. 

This could be a huge source of relief for students living in homes with poor or no Wi-Fi. Contrary to popular belief, elementary, middle, and high school children aren’t the only ones struggling to get online and in touch with their classes. People tend to think that, because college students are adults, they’re more likely to have Wi-Fi. Yet, 3 million college students lack home internet entirely. 

The Internet Caters to Various Learning Styles

College students have a broad range of learning styles. While some are capable of picking up on topics by merely listening to their professors and copying the notes on the board, others need numerous types of stimuli for the message to get across. With a reliable Wi-Fi connection, college students that require different teaching styles or who have learning challenges can get precisely the guidance they need. 

For instance, imagine that a professor who teaches physics uses only vocal lessons and simplistically drawn diagrams on a whiteboard. When the curriculum finally reaches subjects like inertia and gravity, a student that performs best with visual demonstrations might do well to turn to the internet and research video demonstrations on the topics. 

The Importance Online Visual Learning Opportunities

Some topics like those mentioned previously and other abstract scientific concepts are better understood when the lesson is presented from several perspectives and in many different styles. A Wi-Fi connection also presents the opportunity for students with this learning style to access tutorials that walk them through how to recreate an experiment on their own for a more thorough understanding.

STEM is often regarded as a highly visual group of academic subjects. The abundance of visual learning opportunities available online plays a critical role in teaching scholars across all grade levels, college included. This educational and learning style has been said to increase the development of science and engineering, particularly because the students learn to:

  • Recognize and interpret patterns (visual teaching in STEM and other disciplines is often regarded as a form of “storytelling,” clearly illustrating how processes unfold)
  • Explore and engage in a scientific concept fully
  • Complete, or make connections within, the scientific concept

Further, some students do best when they can discuss certain subjects with their classmates. Many classes and discussion sections utilize university websites and forums that allow the students to come together and collaborate on specific assignments or walk each other through difficult concepts in preparation for an exam. This is invaluable to individual and collective academic performance.

Better Student and Faculty Accountability with Wi-Fi

As mentioned previously, the internet is a double-edged sword for college campuses. Although it does present the students with a wealth of information, it also opens up a can of worms that can lead to some logistical troubles for everyone on campus. One of the biggest concerns that arises with Wi-Fi access on college campuses – or any educational institution – is the emergence of cheating. 

The possibility of cheating is the main reason why certain devices are no longer allowed in lecture halls during exams and is the motivation for similar restrictions. According to the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), the behavior is surprisingly prevalent:

  • 17% of graduate students and 39% of undergraduate students admitted to cheating on tests
  • 40% of graduate students and 62% of undergraduate students admitted to cheating on writing assignments
  • In total, 43% of 17,000 graduate students and 68% of 71,300 undergraduate students admitted to some form of cheating on test and written assignments or exams

This is quite unfortunate when looking at these numbers alone. However, remember that Wi-Fi also grants faculty the necessary tools to catch and stop this sort of behavior. Websites like TurnItIn.com and Copyscape require students to check their work for plagiarism before submission. Plus, close monitoring of Wi-Fi use in lecture halls combined with reasonable access restrictions enforces accountability. 

In Conclusion

Wi-Fi is an essential tool for students and faculty on college campuses worldwide. Although admittedly, it may be a double-edged sword in some circumstances, it is a goldmine of equitable information access that can level the playing field for students of all backgrounds. Still, Wi-Fi alone is not the answer to eliminating ethnic and socioeconomic disparities on your college campus. 

However, it plays a significant role in providing access to learning materials and quality education reserved for wealthy youths. Students with all sorts of learning styles, cultural upbringings, and even language differences (thanks to translation functions) can thrive when they’re able to access their learning materials online instead of relying exclusively on printed materials. 

They’ve already reported that the tool enhances their academic performance. With Groove Technology Solutions high-quality services and excellent customer support, it will continue doing so into the future.