Harding Students experience frustration as poor internet connection hurts virtual learners

Local News

SEARCY, Ark.— Students at Harding University are off to a rough start after some say they’ve had little to no internet connection all semester. 

We talked to one student who says poor internet on campus has made it nearly impossible for her teachers to communicate with her as she navigates the virtual learning option. 

“I’m just over here with great WiFi watching this show at Harding that’s awful,” said student Shayla Herrington. 

Herrington is a senior and plans to graduate this December. She says she chose to stay home in Bentonville this year amid the pandemic. However, the growing pains that come with virtual learning have made it difficult. 

“I would have much rather gone in person and done it there,” said Herrington. 

The University says internet connection on campus has been off and on since the beginning of the semester, citing issues with the core router.

“It sucks for people who are paying this much money and not getting what they should be,” said Herrington. 

Students are now more than five weeks into the semester. Herrington says Wednesday was the first time her professor was able to contact her due to ongoing internet issues on campus. 

“It’s just been a mess,” said Herrington. 

She says professors are blaming the lack of communication on a campus-wide internet outage, which makes it hard to discuss the lessons with virtual learners.

“We try to join in on a class and it’s not working because of the WiFi, or we are just told ‘hey here are the notes and PowerPoint, teach yourself, sorry we can’t zoom you in today’,” said Herrington. 

We sat down with Keith Cronk, Vice President of Information Systems Technology at Harding University, to discuss the problem. He says he understands that the lack of connection has posed a challenge to students and faculty. 

“It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s disruptive,” said Cronk. 

Cronk says they’ve worked tirelessly since the beginning of the semester to address the problem and wants to assure students that a new router is on the way. 

“The main thing is to let us know when you’re having issues, we have DormNet. Contact them and we will take care of it,” said Cronk. 

Herrington says she hopes this will fix the issues she has experienced thus far, so she can end her senior year with a strong connection. 

“It’s Harding’s job to say what the future steps are if the WiFi goes down and what we’re going to do for our students,” said Herrington.

Harding University says it’s still unclear what caused the issues with the original core router, but they’re expecting to see the new one in three weeks. 

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