COVID-19: Lessons Learned And How To Move Forward
When COVID-19 required educational institutions to switch to a fully remote model this spring, many schools and colleges struggled. The pandemic forced academic institutions—strongly based on traditional, face-to-face interactions—to suddenly grab whatever remote technologies they could cobble together on a moment’s notice. It wasn’t ideal.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s observation about COVID’s effect on business—that corporate America had seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months—can equally apply to academia. Unfortunately, schools and colleges were less prepared than most corporations. When the pandemic sent everyone home in the middle of the spring semester, students:
- Could not access computer resources they were accustomed to accessing on campus
As a result, the tuition rates seemed unjustified, and many students and parents contested them. For students in the creative and design fields, this was particularly a problem. These students needed access to high-end and expensive desktop software usually available on campus: Revit, AutoCAD, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and many more.
- Needed their own computing devices compatible with on-campus resources
However, some students did not have a personal laptop and could not afford to get one. And while many students had personal laptops, these machines typically were not powerful enough to run high-CPU applications hosted on the academic computers. Schools had to maintain equity among the students and be careful not to create a digital learning divide.
- Could not get adequate support from IT departments
If getting onboard with remote learning was not daunting enough, imagine adding the need for computer support while remotely learning from home. Most students and school employees were used to stopping by the IT help desk to get any computer issues resolved. And given that remote was new to many, there were bound to be many computer issues arising. The IT help desks were not prepared to support a large number of remote support requests, especially the ones for home devices used by students and faculty.
As we enter the new academic year, institutions have had a bit more time to investigate and implement solutions for these problems. One of the most successful approaches is for schools to use remote access and support software.
How To Reach School Computers From Home
Remote access software allows students to remotely access and control school Windows and Mac lab computers from their own devices. They can run any software program on the school computers while in a remote session, even from Chromebooks. As a result, schools do not need to buy additional expensive licenses for Adobe and other high-end software. Imagine having to extend licenses for AutoCAD or Adobe Creative Software to all remote students? With remote access, there is no need. Also, the ability to remote into lab computers with Chromebooks means that schools could purchase these affordable devices for students who did not have access to a powerful computer.
How To Get Technical Support From Home
As discussed above, remote learning has brought IT help desks a great burden: providing remote support to both academic computers and students and faculty home devices: personal laptops, tablets, Chromebooks and more. With remote support software, educational IT teams can support any Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and even Chromebook device remotely and on an on-demand basis.
The Only Way Is Forward—And Here Is Why
We are in the middle of a transformation at all levels of education and we are just scratching the surface. We have to take this opportunity to make things better.
While technology can solve many issues, there is something bigger at stake. This is our moment to democratize education technology, and in doing so, level the playing field for all students, everywhere. Because, when access to remote learning is affordable and easy to manage, it means that everyone has equal access to the latest and greatest hardware and software available.
Imagine a world where students can learn from anywhere and teachers teach without being tied to a specific location! The opportunities seem endless and worth the investment to work out the current growing pains of eLearning.