Delivering Education in a Hybrid Learning Environment
The changing circumstances of the past 18 months required new technologies and equipment at Montcalm. Wagenmaker noted that the college “added Logitech rally systems to every single learning environment that we had, so that we could deliver this way. We also started to get into digital inking as opposed to using whiteboards.”
“Things like Microsoft Whiteboard were important,” he said. “Microsoft Teams is important for our virtual meetings, scheduling those meetings and making sure that there’s a consistent environment for our students. Canvas is our learning management system, which we use for content delivery. And something that’s really helped us out this year was the Microsoft integration within Canvas, which creates our classes based on our Canvas course rosters and keeps it syncing when students leave the roster or get added to it.”
Kohn noted that the college struggled at the beginning of the pandemic. “Imagine deploying new systems to people who are sitting in their houses, getting them hardware equipment that they needed to function if their systems go down,” he said. “Most of our management of those devices was on-prem at that time. We pivoted during this past year to using a mobile device management solution, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, to manage and roll out those devices. Using their Autopilot product within Endpoint Manager, we were able to decrease the amount of time it took for our staff to roll out new devices.”
Work Continues to Evolve in the Wake of the Pandemic
Education hasn’t been the only sector struggling to remain connected during the pandemic. Kevin Martins, principal cloud solution architect at Microsoft, joined the webcast to discuss some of the ways work has changed over the past 18 months.
“When the pandemic started, I saw people coming home and experiencing this whole new world of ‘How do I make all this stuff work reliably? Where do I get webcams from? What should I get?’ I had all these kinds of questions coming at me. When we think about how things have really changed over the past year and a half, people are now used to working at home,” Martins said.
“As we talk about going back into the office, is it going to be like it once was? I don't think so. In fact, recent studies have said no, it's not going to be like that,” he said.
One type of technology that’s been popular the pandemic is videoconferencing. Martin said he didn’t think the technology itself has changed much, but the way it’s being used has shifted.
Microsoft Teams, the company’s signature video program, continues to adapt to meet the needs of its users. Martins spoke about new features offered with Dynamic View that can make remote meetings feel more natural and inclusive.