Greenside Design Center – A Virtual Campus in 24 Hours
As a response to Covid-19 Response, The Academic Institute of Excellence (AIE) has opened a Virtual Campus in just 48 Hours.
The past few weeks have seen educational institutes scramble to find and implement platforms to allow them continuation of their academic delivery in a virtual environment. This is a big and challenging task in the best of circumstances, more so in an environment of uncertainty where the outcome is unknown and the results unrealistic.
Learning institutions from all industries have found themselves in unchartered territory which requires bold decision-making and change management at an unprecedented pace. Years of talk on how technology will change the delivery of traditional education followed by little action has placed most institutions in a difficult position and our industry in need of rapid correction and groundbreaking innovation. We have seen various institutions make more progress in implementing technology over these past few weeks than the educational space has seen in many years… Make no mistake, the situation, although less than ideal will change our industry forever. The well-known phrase that history will favour the bold is more true today than any other time in our generation.
AIE’s Road to a Virtual Campus
Virtual and online learning is not an unfamiliar term for the Academic Institute of Excellence as a whole, as long before the outbreak of Covid-19, AIE has supported online learning by means of the Virtual Classroom on AIE’s student portal.
AIE’s learning methods have always supported blended learning within all its delivery methods, be it campus-based classes or distance learning, in order for our classrooms to not be restricted by time or space and overcome the barriers of a traditional classroom setup as we all know it.
The transformation to virtual learning happened quickly and swiftly. With the resolute commitment from all campus staff following the presidential address on Sunday 15 March, early Monday morning AIE decided to extend their current Virtual Classroom to ALL on campus students, embedding students and staff safety and wellbeing on the forefront of our strategy, whilst maintaining academic integrity and excellence. By Wednesday morning 8:00 am, less than 48 hours later, all students had been given the functionality to interact in Virtual Classroom sessions in the comfort of their own homes. Students can now actively engage with peers as well as lecturers – and have effortless access to download all academic material as well as recorded sessions via the AIE student portal.
During this implementation, three main areas that led to AIE’s success was identified.
Red Tape: In uncertain environments when a business needs to change quickly and effectively, red tape and internal processes can be a killer for any business. It is the key to making change and making it quickly.
Technology: AIE have been pushing the use of technology for better collaboration and academic delivery for years, not always without its own challenges. This has however prepared us perfectly for the current situation, where we have been able to implement technology advancements such as collaborative platforms and the student virtual classroom with relative ease.
Virtual classes will be the main form of contact for full-time/part-time students over the next two weeks bundled with ad-hoc revision sessions, access to campus to download class recordings, and on-campus access to mentors to further assistance.
Innovation & Change: You must have an environment where innovation and change are an integral part of everyday operations. The lack of such culture will slow and obstruct rapid implementation and change when needed. AIE teams were all well versed in change and did not hesitate for a second to support the expansion.
“We are privileged to take such an innovative and unique approach, but it was not without its challenges and we thank our staff and students for supporting the change. All the problems we have solved and challenges we have overcome, over the past few years, have led us to the technology that we implement in our business as well as our student environments today. This has enabled both our people and students’ flexible access while we continue to make sure operations continue unaffected and to even greater successes.”
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