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“Everyone is positive about Tio's online classes”

Since day one of the mandatory closing of the schools due to the coronavirus, Tio University of Applied Sciences has been offering all of its classes to its students online. How did Tio pull that off in such a short period of time? “We were well prepared for the measures that were implemented,” says Tio's IT manager Louis van Dieteren. "We are doing a fantastic job together!”

Working hard behind the scenes

During the weekend that the mandatory closing of all schools was announced, Tio's IT department worked very hard to make sure the online classes were ready by the following Monday. “That weekend, together with the functional manager of Blackboard Collaborate Ultra we were very busy making sure Blackboard performed well, so all classes could proceed as planned,” Louis explains. “We also purchased and installed a lot of webcams that lecturers can use for their classes. Lastly, we wrote instructions and sent out instructional videos to prepare lecturers for the new situation as well as possible.”

First classes were a success

All classes are now being taught online and Louis is happy with how things are going. “Everything is going very well and we are getting a ton of positive feedback. There were some questions at first, but we were quickly able to iron out the kinks. Everything now works as intended. At every Tio campus, there is a system administrator who can help out immediately if something goes wrong. Also, the functional manager of Blackboard can help. Lecturers can also contact the service desk.”

Tio was well prepared

One of the reasons why Tio was able to start offering online classes so quickly and effectively is because the IT was well prepared, Louis explains. “We also use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for our online exam training, so that system was already in place. A lot of our work had to do with preparing lecturers for the new work method. Many lecturers have never worked with this system before and we still saw some uneasiness and uncertainty. Most lecturers were specifically approached by system administrators the day before they started teaching online to check if they were successful and to provide direct support. The functional manager was also continuously available for the more substantive questions. It is great to see that we as Tio are able to respond to the situation so quickly.”

Everyone is positive

How will the coming weeks be for the IT department? “That is difficult to predict. We first focused on realizing that the lessons can be given remotely. These days, more advanced user questions may arise, and we update our FAQ with those on a daily basis.” Louis adds: “We worked hard to get everything up and running. Now, we can sit back and relax. Everyone is positive about how things are going now. We are doing a fantastic job together!”