Our COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Story
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March 2020, Bow Valley 'College's focus was to ensure that our learners could continue with their studies while keeping safe. This meant moving our staff and students from the classroom to virtual learning platforms. Thanks to donors such as the Calgary Foundation, Bow Valley College was able to make sure that our instructors were equipped with the right tools and learning opportunities to design online classrooms so our students could transition to remote studies with as little interruption as possible.
During the initial phase of the Pandemic, Bow Valley College instructors were issued emergency laptops to make the urgent move to a virtual teaching environment; however, these laptops were less cyber-secure than our security standard. With some assistance from the Calgary Foundation, we were able to replace our instructors' emergency devices with reliable headsets and secure laptops, which improved their productivity and decreased our organizational cybersecurity risk.
"The purchase of new laptops and headsets let the college issue devices to support instruction from home to instructors who historically were not issued portable devices by the college. This equipment was and is essential to ongoing remote instruction for our learners as we all navigate the challenges that COVID has thrust upon us," says Jason Mansell, Director, Information Technology Services at Bow Valley College.
Within ten days, we were able to transition our learners and instructors from the classroom to a completely virtual learning environment with a 98% success rate using Microsoft Teams. Now, on any given day, over 9,000 students are taking 1,600 of our classes online.
Given our successful transition to online learning, Microsoft selected Bow Valley College to join their Microsoft Teams Technology Adoption Program. In addition, our School of Health & Wellness partnered with the Microsoft Canadian Higher Education team to share our successful teaching strategies with other post-secondary institutions in a five-part webinar series. The videos have been viewed more than 6,000 times by educators in more than ten countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, and Brazil.
"We can successfully engage learners in teaching and learning in a variety of ways within the MS Teams platform through recordings, breakout rooms, using Whiteboard, OneNote, and videos during class time. Our learners tell us they love the flexibility of the delivery model because it allows them to gain skills while maintaining other responsibilities such as work or family needs," reported Kim Hogarth, Former Associate Dean, Nursing at Bow Valley College.
We sincerely appreciate the immediate steps taken by The Calgary Foundation in support of the pandemic recovery efforts in our community. To learn more about the great work they do please visit: https://calgaryfoundation.org/