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December 7, 2020

Teams for Education Solution for Universities Case Study

Executive Summary

Company: FAST NUCES
Industry: Education
Employees: 20,000 (2000 Faculty members & 18,000 students)
Overview: Everyone at Communication Square pulled back sleeves to help FAST NUCES, a prestigious university with five campuses across Pakistan establish digital learning solution to reduce the impact of COVID-19 interruption and ensure a smooth transition from traditional to online classrooms..
Solution: Microsoft Teams for Education Solution


Summary

Communication Square is driven by its need to bridge technological gaps and helping companies adopt the Microsoft cloud without hassle. With COVID having forced schools to close their doors across the globe, the prospect of academic disruption in Pakistan motivated us to make a difference at this difficult time. The overnight dive into digital learning was an uphill task considering the traditional education mechanism being used in Pakistan. FAST NUCES, a prestigious university with five campuses across Pakistan, needed to establish digital learning solution urgently to reduce the impact of COVID-19 interruption. Due to the partial lockdowns, we resorted to remote demo of Microsoft Teams for over 45 participants of faculty and department heads of prospective clients. We submitted Scope of Work documenting the support services, core and advanced features of the proposed Microsoft Teams for Education solution.

Communication Square LLC

My goal was to serve my community within my capacity. As CEO of Microsoft Gold Partner, offering advanced technology to educators was a given. I rolled out a strategy to get my team involved, and fight my way against the system that failed to use technology. Unfortunately, education is mere business as no school took advantage of free A1 licenses offered by Microsoft in Pakistan through HEC. Mainly due to lack of knowledge and reluctancy to transform education in this part of the world. What should have been done years earlier was finally enforced during the pandemic though this is just the beginning and it’s a long road ahead.

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Favad Qaisar
CEO

Challenges

There were several challenges that needed to be addressed professionally for a smooth transition to ensure educators could effectively adapt to online classrooms.

  • Educating the Decision Makers: We had to make authority realize the value of setting up true online classroom for easy collaboration and communication between faculty and students that could not be compared with Zoom/WhatsApp.
  • Convincing Faculty to teach online: The next challenging, and a rather daunting task, was to convince teachers to switch to online learning. We had to demonstrate the power of Teams for easy collaboration between students, teacher assistance, other faculty members and the benefits of using virtual Whiteboard, Microsoft Office tools integrated with Teams.
  • Reluctant IT Department: The FAST IT department was reluctant to switch to Teams as it was a lot more work. They insisted on using Zoom as an online learning platform.
  • Preparing students: Another challenge was the fact that coronavirus had a huge impact on social lives which meant students were stressed and introducing them to new technology under these circumstances could have taken a toll on students’ mental health. However, at the same time it was necessary to inform students about accessing and using Microsoft Teams for Education solution for online learning.
  • Biased social media: This one was perhaps one of the biggest challenges was unforeseen. While we held discussions with FAST concerning the benefits, social media was busy campaigning against online learning. The top ten twitter trends in Pakistan were the hashtags: #WeRejectOnlineClasses, #BoycottOnlineClasses, #SuspendOnlineClasses, #wewantsemesterbreak. Leading media personnel, TV anchors picked up on the trend and conducted shows against online learning encouraging semester break in favour of students without understanding the severity of the impact of academic disruption.


Teams for Education Solution

Communication Square is dedicated to serving humanity, in our quest to conquer the bridge between technology and students, we were determined to provide the best solution to FAST as a model for others to follow. It was critical to get the all the pieces right for online learning to fight against the ongoing campaigns otherwise our students would be at a huge loss. We were determined to leave no stone unturned as it was crucial to get it right for others to be inspired to deploy the Teams for education solution. We had to communicate instructions to all stakeholders (management, faculty, parents, students). As we were providing Microsoft Teams Consulting, we had to address all of the challenges effectively, our proposed solution had to encompass all elements for a win-win situation that would cater to students and faculty.

Our solution offered the following key components:

FAST NUCES

With limited time in hand, we had to make a crucial decision regarding the future of our students. Every day was posing a threat for our students, we had to establish online learning right away to save their future. Without hesitation, we decided to deploy Microsoft Teams, and the positive response from faculty members and students is encouraging.

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Dr. Aftab Maroof
Professor & Director
  • Virtual Classroom Configuration
  • Faculty & Staff Management
  • Student Management
  • Calendar Management & Scheduling
  • Access Control & Security Management
  • Notifications & Alerts
  • Lecture Meetings
  • Attendance Management
  • Operational Management
  • Lecture Content Management
  • Student Interaction Management
  • Assignment Management
  • Plagiarism Check
  • Quiz Management
  • Auto Grading
  • System Integrations & Third-Party Apps
  • Training & System Handover
  • Language Control

Post Teams for Education Solution Deployment Insights

Determined to provide the best solution for online learning, we helped management realize the benefits and true worth of Microsoft Teams for Education Solution. The following statistics of FAST reveal benefits of deploying Microsoft Teams.

FAST NUCEES post Microsoft Teams deployment
Our deployed solution has empowered FAST to track faculty performance and effectiveness, student enrolment, attendance, and student progress by accessing valuable data. Faculty members are now able to monitor the competency of their students through quizzes, assignments, activity in online class lectures.

Our deployed Teams for Education Solution has empowered FAST to track faculty performance and effectiveness, student enrolment, attendance, and student progress by accessing valuable data. Faculty members are now able to monitor the competency of their students through quizzes, assignments, activity in online class lectures.

FAST NUCES

Teams has reduced operational costs, and has benefitted faculty, students, and university staff by bringing everyone on one platform. We are able to identify problem areas and improve the interaction between faculty and students, and effectively utilize university staff, faculty, and resources.

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Dr. Waseem Shahzad
Professor
(Last Updated On: July 1, 2021)

Last Updated 3 months ago

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