Academic Technology Amidst Covid-19

This week (it’s only Wednesday, correct?) has been a whirlwind. We are still at work assisting in keeping operations smooth for our campus both online and in our library where we work. We invited faculty to campus on Monday and Tuesday to review some of our most important remote learning tools – Moodle (our LMS), Zoom for video conferencing and beyond, Kaltura for video uploading and beyond, and Microsoft’s Office 365 (notably Teams and PowerPoint). Although I do work with and support these tools, one of the most insightful aspects of this has been the fact that I myself have been an online student for the last three years getting my second master’s degree.

Having the perspective of being a student and using an LMS, Zooming often, and recording oh-so-many PowerPoint presentations has given me a unique perspective and readied me for whatever was to happen.

This experience has also been humbling, knowing maybe you don’t have all the answers. For example, the LMS I use for school is Canvas, but the LMS we use at work is Moodle, so I myself have some gaps in that tool in particular especially from the perspective of the educator/professor (granted I have taken a LinkedIn Learning course on our LMS, and have built some work-related courses within the LMS itself).

I’ve been kind to myself in this process, picking up tips where I can and providing the best knowledge that I have. Our team has been putting in extra hours to assure that well things get answered and that both our students and faculty can work in this new reality.

I said last week this would be our “time to shine” but it’s also been a test of our systems, our people, our resilience, and our well-being.

We’re not sheltering in place, not quarantined entirely, we have students on campus, our library is open, but our campus, for the most part, feels somewhat empty. It’s a strange reality – the extension of spring break, into the foreseeable future.

For me, I have two classes left in my own 2nd masters degree program. I was expecting to take those this summer. I was also expecting to attend graduation with my family to celebrate. It feels early, with snow still on the ground, it also feels almost like inevitable that this may not happen.