This fall, the University of Notre Dame decided to bring students back to campus. Given the pandemic, this choice meant that the university needed to stand up a testing and contact tracing effort, as well as establish isolation and quarantining locations.
Notre Dame relied on its Office of Information Technologies (OIT) to achieve its goals.
“The OIT team has been an integral part of the COVID-19 Response Team (CRU) since the University began planning for the beginning of this unprecedented academic year,” said Michael D. Seamon, vice president for Campus Safety and University Operations. “They were called to develop, implement and coordinate numerous technology elements, in an extremely short time frame, that impact critical operations like the Daily Health Check, COVID test orders at the University Testing Site, contact tracing record systems, quarantine and isolation programs, and the HERE website and dashboard, just to name a few.”
Typically, OIT works behind the scenes in typically IT support roles – staffing help desks, training staff on classroom technology, and keeping university networks secure – but for this school year, OIT had to ramp up its IT support as both professors and students adjusted to new classroom space and hybrid learning.
For the new school year, Notre Dame debuted outdoor classrooms and relied on hybrid learning and social distance to learn safely.
Kevin Barry, director of the Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence, praised OIT for their help, saying “OIT Teaching and Learning Technologies provided support for technology tools that facilitated learning including Sakai, Zoom, Gradescope, and many other tools.” Additionally, “OIT’s Audio Video Technologies group completed a Herculean effort to install the infrastructure that made dual-mode instruction possible. And ND Studios provided additional capacity for the creation of digital materials and the management and support of the Global Classroom.”
On top of expanding into new technologies, OIT surged capacity for its more traditional functions.
“The OIT Help Desk added to its capacity and extended its hours. OIT also formed a teaching triage group to ensure that instructors’ questions were handled as quickly as possible,” Barry said.