Whelp. All classes are online for the foreseeable future. 3,500 courses running at the moment, with no F2F classes. I’ve been absolutely blown away by how supportive instructors, students and staff have been. The UofC made the right call to move classes online before there was a known pocket of COVID-19 on campus. I mean, it’s probably already through the community, but by sending every student home, it should hopefully slow things down significantly. Flatten the curve.
Our team developed and launched our campus “Teaching Continuity” web page, in preparation for a possible COVID response. What a great team - super impressed at what we were able to develop rapidly.
Additional COVID-related resources:
- The Big List of Higher Ed COVID/pandemic/teaching-continuity websites
- Barb Brown has collected a set of links to articles/presentations from UCalgary faculty members on moving to online classes
- Virginia Commonwealth University’s Keep on Teaching page
- Oklahoma University’s Teach Anywhere site
- Inside Higher Ed: Prepare to move online (in a hurry)
- Northeastern University’s Digital Resilience website
- Flower Darby in The Chronicle: How to be a better online teacher
We’re moving to Zoom for online classes - our team led the implementation, on an extremely tight timeline.1 That’s the last of our core online platforms to be moved Into The Cloud™, and should provide a solid foundation for online courses. We’ve integrated it with Active Directory and D2L to make it easy for everyone to access it.
This was, by far, the most rapid implementation of a learning technology platform I’ve been part of. I led the D2L implementation back in 2013, which took a year from contract to full migration. YuJa (last year) took a couple of months from contract to full deployment. The last emergency migration was the move from Elluminate to Adobe Connect Meeting after the Java security model shift blew it up. That took almost a week, IIRC.
It took less than 48 hours to implement Zoom. It took us 24 hours from contract-signing to integration with D2L and Active Directory and full availability. As of 10am Saturday morning, we’ve already had over 900 people login via campus signon. Amazing. 280 meetings since Thursday. Next week should be interesting - but, for the first time in my edtech career, I’m actually not stressed about our core platforms being able to handle the load. Every single one of our core platforms is now rock-solid and able to dynamically respond to increased load. Amazing.
Some of the Zoom integration resources we used:
- Zoom Pro LTI App
- Configure Brightspace LTI integration (LTI Pro app)
- Configure YuJa integration (we decided to wait to integrate YuJa for now - once integrated, it will allow meeting recordings to be automatically moved to YuJa to provide extra features like closed captioning and searching and transcoding etc. but we need to start simple and build up. Maybe next week…)
Nothing. been stuck in COVID-prepper-land. I did read that article by Mercader and Gairin…
- Mercader, C., Gairín, J. (2020). University teachers' perception of barriers to the use of digital technologies: the importance of the academic discipline. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 17, 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-020-0182-x
- A buttload of COVID-19 Teaching Continuity websites.
I also had a fun medical surprise. What I thought was going to be a quick routine checkup turned into “here’s some freezing, we’re going to send some samples for testing” and suddenly we’re cutting chunks of my back out and burning things. Awesome. This whole COVID and rapid online pivot thing weren’t my biggest sources of stress this week.
🗓️ Focus for next week
I don’t know. Staying upright. Working with Zoom technical rep to make sure we didn’t do anything stupid.
We have been using Adobe Connect, but the server we have is out of date and not up to handling more than 500 simultaneous users. We have more than 500 students… So, Zoom. ↩︎