How have you and your team faced the challenges of 2020?
Spring 2020 was a challenge and came as a surprise for me and my team, but we were able to overcome the challenges by working together as a team. Team work is the IT department’s greatest strength. Whenever there is a problem, the whole team is willing to support and resolve the issue. We also worked closely with the ETS and UTO teams to resolve issues.
Describe the transitions you and your team made when the pandemic hit.
As soon as our team went remote, we also needed to provide remote access for students and faculty to computers in the lab using specific software. After discussing with ETS, we decided to switch our computers to Virtual Desktop Environment (VDI). It took us about a week to bring those computers fully online and we worked late nights with ETS folks to make it happen. Because the end of the semester was close and neither faculty students were familiar with the system, I stayed up past 10 p.m. every night for many weeks working with faculty and students to test it out and make sure they knew how to use it before exams started.
What have you and your team learned since the start of the pandemic?
We have been working on moving IT files to the cloud and providing remote/virtual access to our users. The presence of COVID convinced our IT folks to move forward with remote/virtual options. Cloud services are the future for us and right now we are working on migrating to cloud services. For example, we recently moved our Fulton shared folder S: drive to Microsoft OneDrive cloud services and we will continue working in this manner.
How did you assist faculty in switching to virtual teaching modalities?
It was a team effort between IT and faculty. There was a learning curve for all of us. We worked closely with our faculty to make sure they had what they needed. We also supported our faculty by presenting alternate solutions. We are thankful that our faculty are flexible and that has helped us overcome the challenges that 2020 and the pandemic have brought.