June 22, 2020

How Communication Square led Roots School System towards Digital Learning with the Microsoft Educational Solution

Executive Summary

Educational Institute: Roots School System

Industry: Education

Overview: COVID-19 pandemic forced countries to implement temporary closure of schools, colleges, and universities to control coronavirus outbreak. The Roots School System was in a dilemma and needed a solution for the uninterrupted process of learning for thousands of their students. They required a virtual system within the shortest possible time of 7 days. Microsoft Pakistan recommended Communication Square to establish online learning and help Roots School System in the transition from traditional school system to modern virtual school system.

Solution: Microsoft Teams for Education


As countries worldwide enforced different degrees of lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector was hit particularly hard. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in temporary closures of schools and universities impacting an estimated 1.6 billion students worldwide. The decision to shut down educational institutes was very abrupt, leaving school owners and administration in dismay. As the administration of educational institutes scrambled for alternate solutions, some schools resorted to online learning while others without the necessary infrastructure, were forced to remain closed. Roots School System is a leading chain of Pakistan based international school/college/university serving over thousands of students in multiple cities across Pakistan.

Traditional classes were not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic, both staff and students were restricted to their homes. The management of Roots School System deliberated on setting up online classes to reduce the impact of academic closure on their students. Roots School System had to quickly respond to the many challenges thrown at them by the pandemic hence decided to move their staff and students online by establishing online learning solutions. They proactively contacted us to deploy Microsoft Teams for Education across different campuses to establish online learning.

The Microsoft Educational Solution

When Communication Square was contacted for Microsoft Teams Consulting and immediately, our sales team, headed by the CEO, got into discussions with Roots management and the IT Department. Our team convinced the management to roll out Microsoft Teams for Education.

Moving Roots School System to Teams was a challenge. Due to academic disruption impacting students, we were pressed for time. Roots required the solution to be implemented within seven (7) days. Our team identified the following challenges:

Assessment of Infrastructure: Our first challenge was assessing the required infrastructure to successfully deploy Microsoft Teams at a time when our team was restricted to working remotely. Our Microsoft Certified Personnel conducted several discussions over telephone with their IT Department.

Faculty Training: A major obstacle was inadequate faculty training for conducting online classes. We had to provide a complete solution that would enable teachers to deliver online classes remotely while staying organized and effective. This included setting up teams for different classes, with weekly lectures assigned to different channels. We created an online video tutorial on how to create and manage quizzes, assignments, and upload class lecture material. It was not an easy challenge, but we found the faculty and staff of Roots School System so cooperative and agile towards digital learning that together we achieved our target within the given deadline and Roots School System was live within 7 days through the solution recommended and deployed by Communication Square. 

Student Training: Most of the students were new to online learning, we were not sure if students had the required hardware or internet connection to attend online classes. While parents were also skeptical about the success of online classes as it was a big move away from traditional classroom.

Communication Square Leads

Due to time constraint our team urgently devised a strategy to successfully roll out Microsoft Teams. We had to ensure Roots School System classes were up and running in no time to save precious time for students that were already being traumatized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our priority was to keep students, faculty and school management communicating seamlessly. Since Roots School System had not used Microsoft Office 365, we had to first educate them about the Microsoft 365 Education as an effective collaboration and communication tool.

Our solution consisted of the following key components:

Core Features

Virtual Classroom Configuration: We trained the Roots staff for creating channels representing courses for each teacher account and each course was subdivided into weeks.

Faculty & Staff Management: The on-boarding process consisted of migrating teacher and staff data into Teams to create teacher accounts, map courses with teachers. 

Student Management: Strict enforcement of rights and permissions for specific user roles was implemented to ensure students adhered to Roots School System policies.

Calendar Management & Scheduling: This encompassed setting up the timetable. Students were added according to classroom strength, courses they had registered

Access Control & Security Management: Access Control Mechanism was implemented to ensure students abided by Roots International policies.

As a result, both faculty and students stayed connected.

Benefits of Microsoft Educational Solution

According to administrators and coordinators at Roots School System their faculty has enormously benefited from Microsoft Teams for Education. The management at Roots School System regularly held meetings to get feedback from faculty regarding online learning using Microsoft Teams for Education, and the feedback we have received from them is encouraging and incredibly positive. Faculty use Teams to interact with students, colleagues, and school management. They also easily share documents and class material with their students and other faculty members, work collaboratively, and initiate class discussions. Additionally, their teachers deliver class lectures, conduct group and individual sessions, and respond to student comments while having full control over permissions and restrictions to ensure students abide by the institutes polices.

Furthermore, Roots School System has received positive feedback from students and parents praising the efforts of their teachers, and school management for establishing online learning that is both fun and interactive for their children. Engaging students is a big task, and when students are interested in learning online it speaks volume.

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