Cloud software helps ASU lean into hybrid learning

Arizona State University has leaned heavily into cloud collaboration software to help students return to school in a hybrid learning model, says CIO Lev Gonick.

Cloud software helps ASU lean into hybrid learning
Arizona State University

No IT leadership job is quite like leading IT at a major university, which must accommodate the technology needs of thousands of new students each fall. The cornonavirus pandemic has compounded the challenges for this fall semester, as collegiate IT departments must support students who elect to attend classes physically and those who choose to learn virtually.

Ensuring enough concurrent connections to support virtual classrooms is only part of the technical jiu-jitsu. IT must also implement new software that further facilitates the learning and collaborative experience from afar, in accordance with social distancing guidelines, for both faculty and students.

Arizona State University CIO Lev Gonick has accepted that challenge by implementing technologies to support a hybrid learning model that, he hopes, eased the transition for 20,000 freshmen, including those living in residence halls and international students taking classes from all over the world.

"On any given year, it's enough to give a CIO gray hair, but in the fall of 2020 it’s gotten more complicated," Gonick tells CIO.com.

The pandemic poses unprecedented hurdles for universities, which are under an intense socio-political microscope to operate responsibly and safely. Early results have been checkered, as many schools have weathered withering criticism over their handling of COVID-19 outbreaks that cropped up as students flouted best practices for social distancing. Meanwhile, students quarantined on campuses are agonizing over substandard fare.

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