Distance Learning Webinar Recap

On Tuesday April 14th, Kjierstin Layton from Vyopta, hosted a Distance Learning expert panel with Dr. Lance Ford from Cisco, and James Hodges with Utah Education Network to discuss how they have dealt with the changes that coronavirus has brought to their industry.


James Hodges started the webinar off by discussing more about his role at the University of Utah as the Director of Video Operations Manager. He mentioned that he manages the front line of defense for video distance learners. Dr. Lance Ford mentioned that he has been a classroom teacher for 27 years, he also teaches online for Carl Albert State College, and for Cisco he teaches other teachers.


Kjierstin has been working with Dr. Lance Ford since early 2004, she is a specialist in public sector funding sources, and is currently working at Vyopta. She mentions that with COVID-19 Vyopta is seeing an increase in endpoints and infrastructure of operations as 74% of organizations plan to permanently shift more remote applications. Vyopta can give you insights from complete visibility across collaboration. Vyopta is offering free solutions during the pandemic. James discusses the dramatic increase in requests that he has received on webex.  He states, “Last week alone we provisioned over 700 new webex accounts, with over 1700 meeting minutes, and they just keep coming.”



What has the impact been on distance learning due to COVID-19?

James discusses that many were worried that distance learning would take their jobs. For a lot of teachers, video recording was limited, and it hit our educators immediately and became really important to a whole different group of people. Dr Lance Ford mentions that 30 days ago, video was how they held specialized courses only, and now it is how everyone delivers curriculum. We now have school board members that have to manage the ins and outs from video calls. It’s one of the moments where the reality that people have to do this is there. There is a fear that people won’t be able to connect to the learners. The importance of delivery is a must. Lance then gives a deep dive into a South Carolina county school district’s latest meeting data from Cisco stating that they up to 1,200% to over 1 million meeting minutes, their total participants are up over 28,000% to 356,000 participants, their video meetings are up almost 10,000%. The quality of each one of those meetings is a must.



How did you begin to evaluate needs of customers/educators when COVID-19 began to cause disruption?

James described how the first step is realizing what we need and how to accomplish that while keeping their current model, next step is how to make it easier for everyone on board and how we approach these requests, and they knew that it was a must to be able to support training and onboarding aspects. Cisco is offering a series of workshops 5 days a week to support training. Lance mentions that training was also a big unknown for him as well.



When it comes to internet connectivity and availability, how does Vyopta help you with this need?

James outlines how Vyopta’s information helps greatly with the quality of distance learning and support. In regard to connectivity, it quickly became apparent that the access to technology was smaller than they thought for many students. It was so important to be able to see where those breaking points and Vyopta helps us identity those so quickly and efficiently so we know where we can start fixing it. Lance adds that 40% of his kids tells him that they don’t have internet access. He has seen student drive to the school and sit in their cars in the parking lot with their chrome book to get the access they need.



What do you believe can be a positive takeaway in light of COVID-19?

Dr Lance Ford says that it has been amazing for him to work with educators from all over the world. He tells the story of a teacher from Israel that was excited to meet people from all over the world to teach students and learn from them. There are so many collaborations going on right now to help each other. James mentions that seeing how the technology helps them achieve their goals and appreciate the significance of what this is bringing to light in collaboration.


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