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Student Success at the Library

Internet Access

If you do not currently have internet access, there are several options to get connected to complete your online classes:

  • If your class is meeting synchronously via Zoom, you can call into the class using your phone - no internet required, though you will not be able to see the video.
  • Many internet service providers are making their connections more widely available through the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which applies for the next sixty days and commits internet service providers to making wi-fi hotspots publicly available, waiving late fees, and not disconnecting service.
  • Comcast is making its Internet Essentials service (in-home wi-fi access) free for two months, opening up its Xfinity hotspots to everyone, giving all of its customers unlimited data for two months, and pausing disconnects and late fees
  • Spectrum is giving all K-12 and college students two free months of internet service
  • As long as public libraries remain open, they are a good place to get internet access. If they are closed, you still may be able to access their networks from outside the building.
  • UVA Library facilities are now closed to the public, but there is still wi-fi on Grounds. If there is a university or community college where you are staying, you may be able to use their internet if they are open.

If you have to go out in public to get connected, please follow CDC social distancing guidelines - stay 6 feet away from other people, don't touch your face, and wash your hands frequently. It is also a good idea to clean your devices regularly.

Maximizing a Slow Internet Connection

Depending on how your online courses are set up, you may have trouble accessing some content (especially streaming video content or large files) if your internet connection is slow. While there is only so much that you can do to improve your internet connection, there are several steps you can take to make the best of what you have:

  • Download as much content as possible--especially if you have limited access to a faster connection--so that you can access it without having to get online
  • Minimize the number of devices using your internet connection at once
  • Run a speed test to make sure that your connection is as fast as it should be based on your contract (and contact your provider if not)
  • Turn off any apps or programs that may be running in the background and taking up bandwidth, such as Google Drive automatically uploading files or your computer's auto-update feature
  • Consider installing an extension like Privacy Badger that blocks some ads, auto-playing videos, and other scripts that slow down loading (but be warned, these extensions will occasionally block necessary scripts)
  • You may also optimize your browser for slow connections by using modes like turbo mode in the Opera browser or Google Chrome's Lite mode (available only on Android devices)
  • Try using an ethernet cable to connect your device directly to your modem instead of relying on wi-fi