Bring Your Own Device Labs 

By Gabrielle Owens

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online classes have become the safest way for students to learn. Youngstown State University created Bring Your Own Device Labs for students who need a place to attend online-live classes. 

During the 2018-2019 academic year, YSU’s Student Government Association and the IT Governance committee came up with an idea to create BYOD labs for students to attend their classes, according to AVP Chief Information Officer Jim Yukech.

Like the rest of YSU, BYOD labs adhere to social distancing guidelines. Photo by Gabrielle Owens/The Jambar

“We always had this idea in place for the past two years. We talked about migrating 105 computer labs and 1,905 workstations, so we always thought of converting those into BYOD labs,” he said. 

 The pandemic pushed this idea into action for the fall semester.  

 “One thing that accelerated this idea was the pandemic response because in March we immediately had to switch to online classes,” Yukech said. 

According to Yukech, the BYOD labs can be used as a traditional face-to-face classroom and an online-live workspace for students. BYOD labs can be found at the following locations: Lincoln Building, Beeghly Hall, DeBartolo Hall, Butler Museum, Bliss Beecher lab and Maag Library. 

Throughout each college, these spaces have been put in place for students that have little time to travel home between their traditional class and their online class. 

“There is a real need for students who have a traditional face-to-face class from 9-10 and after they have an online-live class from 10-11, how are they going to find a place where they can participate in their class with their own device?” Yukech said. 

He said students received an email on which rooms designated as BYOD spaces for them to use for their online-live class. 

“Each college has created BYOD spaces for students to attend their online-live classes. There are BYOD spaces where deans have worked with their faculty … Those [room locations] are being communicated by the deans and chairs within each college,” Yukech said.  

Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration, ensures safety procedures are being followed for each BYOD space. 

“The requirements for using the BYOD space is that each student must follow all safety procedures by wearing their mask, checking their temperature and making sure they are feeling healthy. When entering each BYOD space, students must wipe down the table they choose to work at and wipe down the same area when leaving,” she said. 

Licata said the WCBA has put in place social-distancing measures for each BYOD space.

Students can attend online classes in BYOD labs all over campus, like this one in Williamson College of Business Administration. Photo by Gabrielle Owens/The Jambar

“We created team rooms, which consists of one person per room. Also, many classrooms will be used as BYOD spaces, which will consist of 4-5 students,” Licata said. 

Marlie Applegarth, a sophomore accounting major, used the BYOD space in WCBA and enjoyed her virtual experience. She said she would enjoy in-person classes more than online. 

“It was good overall, and the rooms were very quiet. It’s very different; I think a lot of students would rather go to class on campus more often. Online classes do not have the same learning experience as in-person classes,” Applegarth said. 

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