Date: Jessica Highsmith
Author: September 3, 2020
How do you keep teaching when being in your classroom isn’t an option?
When COVID-19 emerged in late Winter 2020, organizations, governments and schools were forced to work from home nearly overnight. In the blink of an eye, remote work was no longer a business convenience, it was essential. While many organizations around the world were not prepared for this new way of working remotely at scale, Lone Star College and Luiss University were.
One college and one university – 6,000 miles apart – both facing the same big challenge: shift their entire curriculum to 100% distance learning in a matter of days.
Making the switch to online learning overnight
Lone Star College was founded in 1972 and is based in Houston, Texas. It serves nearly 88,000 students across seven colleges with 13,000 employees. During Spring Break 2020, COVID-19 took hold and the college was forced to completely transition to distance learning.
Due to the historical hurricane impact in Houston, the college system had previously developed a solid class offering in online education. The complete flooding of one campus during its last major hurricane served as the basis for a wholescale transformation effort, for students and faculty alike, and is the reason why the college understands the importance of a strong business continuity plan to keep learning in place.
Luiss Guido Carli is an independent, private university in Rome, Italy, founded in 1974. It may be different in its learning approach, but its need was very much the same as Lone Star College some 6,000 miles away.
As with many educational institutions, Luiss University needed to shift its classes to remote learning due to COVID-19. The university had to move quickly. By early July, the university estimates that it delivered 17,000 hours of online classes, with 500 lecturers and 10,000 students. Staff and faculty arranged a graduation ceremony for 750 students, all online and all via Cisco Webex.
Whether in Rome or Texas, the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges to both institutions, specifically the speed at which they needed to transition everyone to home and the uncertainty of what lay ahead. There was no end date in sight. In parallel, the health and safety of their students and employees were highly important during this period of transition which had to be carried out with speed and safety.
Cisco solutions keep schools connected
Within 48 hours, both schools were up and running, online. Cisco Webex enabled teachers to deliver live classes to thousands of students. Unified Communications integrated by way of Cisco Jabber, shared desktops, instant messaging, and video calls, all ensured that staff and students were connected over a safe and secure network infrastructure powered by Cisco.
Lone Star College has been a long-standing Cisco customer, and with its previously established network infrastructure its transition to distance learning has been seamless and uninterrupted with enhanced confidence in its cybersecurity. Using Cisco Webex as its digital platform, Luiss University has allowed students to not only learn but interact and engage more than seen prior to COVID-19. In fact, the University has recorded a higher involvement and interaction with its digital lessons.
COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of both institutions faster than they ever could have imagined. If they did not have Cisco Collaboration solutions as part of their digital strategy and the secure network infrastructure already in place, they would not have been able to move forward with distance learning so quickly and seamlessly.
Learn how Lone Star College and Luiss University are using Cisco technology to ensure that the learning never stops— even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Lone Star College: College maintains business continuity in a crisis
Luiss University: University switches to online learning overnight
Used with permission from Cisco.