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Posted on 11 January 2021

As we leave the crises of 2020 behind us, universities and colleges have the opportunity to build upon the foundation of their hard work in 2021 – giving students an efficient, effective remote education.

Few of us will remember 2020 fondly: the COVID-19 pandemic forced many industries to pivot and adapt at break-neck speed. Suddenly, keeping customers and employees safe while navigating uncertain waters became the most prevalent business activity.

This challenge was felt particularly strongly among educators. Students finishing up their university careers did so under the UK’s first lockdown, while freshers had the looming prospect of a very different university experience waiting for them. Elsewhere, colleges were left to prepare students for this new reality.

While the world changed across the board, universities found themselves facing particular pressure to deliver the courses advertised when students first applied, offering value for money, quality, and – perhaps most importantly – safety.

A Blend of Normality

For many universities, maintaining a sense of normality remained a priority, resulting in the adoption of a ‘blended’ learning model, whereby batches of students were rotated between remote learning and on-site classes. Unfortunately, with the situation continuing to evolve, a heavier emphasis is being placed on remote-only learning.

At a time when being on campus was a boost for mental health and a taste of normalcy for many students, this is understandably a blow.

Behind the scenes, lecturers – like many roles in many industries – have had to wear different hats, counselling their students, teaching them, and scheduling their many classes. As you can imagine, the latter is no easy feat, with hundreds of students relying on up-to-date and correct information to ensure they’re joining the correct Microsoft Teams meeting at the right time, on the right day.

This manual approach understandably leads to frustration from both parties, with confusion among students and a great amount of pressure on lecturers to work through this tedious administrative task quickly and without error.

Introducing Teams Scheduler

In response to this challenge – as experienced by a number of our customers – we’ve developed Teams Scheduler, the latest offering in our suite of products aimed at enhancing the Microsoft Teams experience.

By integrating with a university or college’s existing timetabling system, Teams Scheduler can automate the sending of lecture and class invitations, simplifying the scheduling process.

Beyond simply sending the invitations, Teams Scheduler can also:

  • Differentiate between students of the same name
  • Ensure only relevant invitations to the right classes are sent
  • Preserve the academic experience in environments where mixed learning remains in practice

The results speak for themselves: staff can free up their time to meet students’ needs, students can experience their learning experience with clarity and confidence, and remote learning cements itself as a robust and successful possibility – particularly useful as the conditions of the pandemic continue to change,

If 2020 was the trial by fire, then 2021 has the opportunity to be the year where universities and other educational establishments regain control, building upon the foundations of all we’ve learnt in the last twelve months.

With Teams Scheduler, remote learning can begin to move beyond a reactionary measure, to a world-class educational opportunity instead – all it takes is the first step.

If you’d like to find out more about Teams Scheduler for Education, feel free to get in touch with our team to discuss how your staff and students could benefit.

 

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