Due to the pandemic, educational institutions faced the challenge of maintaining continuity in their educational programmes and offering courses remotely. In this article, learn how Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) used remote access software to help students access the university’s computer labs and continue their courses.
UPB is a private university in Colombia with a tradition of more than 85 years and is one of the top 30 universities in Latin America. It currently offers courses to more than 10,000 students. We reached out to Esteban Moná Mejía, Support and Maintenance Coordinator in the IT department, which specialises in the digitization of academic offerings and the virtualization of UPB services, to find out how technology has helped transform its academic offerings.
Mr. Mejía, you introduced remote access software so that your students and teachers could access the university’s computers from home?
Yes, during the pandemic our biggest challenge was to ensure the continuity of academic courses during times when most faculty, administrators and students were forced to stay at home. We were recommended ISL Online as a professional remote access software. To evaluate the tool’s performance, we set up unattended access in some computer labs and tested the connections. It worked flawlessly and was very easy to use, so we proceeded with the project.
How did students and university staff access the computers?
All they had to do was log into a website with their credentials and connect to the university’s computers with a simple click. As mentioned earlier, the tool is very intuitive, so there weren’t many problems.
The university has a large number of computers, and there were over 10,000 users connecting to those computers. How did your team manage and monitor access to these computers?
ISL Online provides advanced administration options that allow for easy management of user access to specific classrooms. We were able to keep classrooms available in accordance with the academic schedule of automatic connection outages.
How many courses have you delivered remotely?
We were able to remotely deliver 584 out of a total of 7931 university courses.
What feedback did you get from students?
They really appreciated being able to connect to the university computers and use special design applications that weren’t available to them at home.
They also liked the ability to transfer files. ISL Online allows users to transfer files between the local and remote computers, so students have been able to save notes and assignments on their local computers.
You and your team used the same software to provide remote support to students and university staff?
Yes, in one year we made about 5000 remote connections using ISL Online. An important feature for our help desk was the ability to run processes with elevated privileges. This allows users to restart the computer in safe mode and interact with user account control dialogues. This maximises the efficiency of support and significantly reduces the time needed to fix computer problems and perform maintenance.
Now that everything is back in order, have you decided to continue offering hybrid education models?
At Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, we now better understand how technology can help students throughout their educational experience, both in person and online. Therefore, we continue to use advanced digitalisation to develop processes and programmes for hybrid education.
Mr. Mejía thank you for taking your time and sharing your experience with us and our community.