A success story with Open edX® technology and Aulasneo
On March 19th 2020, the Argentinean government established a lockdown that included closing all schools. No on-site classes were allowed, as a measure to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among the community. Although at first established for two weeks, news coming from other countries and regions indicated that these restrictions wouldn’t be lifted for several months.
For ICdeBA this sudden restriction posed a huge challenge: how to start delivering 75 online courses for 500 students with a team of 100 teachers and assistants lacking experience on technology and video conferencing solutions. In addition, there was a very short timeframe for resolution as the academic year was scheduled to begin in the last week of March.
To face this challenge, at Aulasneo we proposed implementing Open edX® technology as the LMS that would manage all online courses for the institution. We had to take into account that their courses have a significant component of synchronous classes. To set it all up, a video conferencing solution (Zoom) was integrated via LTI to complement all asynchronous materials. Providing online courses with the Open edX® platform allowed a flexible scheme for role assignment for students, teachers, teaching assistants and school administrators.
Thanks to the Open edX® platform’s robust and extensive feature capabilities, and to ICdeBA’s fast decision making process and collaboration, the Virtual Campus (as well as the creation of the 75 courses) was implemented in one week. Thus, ICdeBA was able to start the academic year only one week later than the original schedule. The implementation was complemented with training sessions for teachers and assistants so that they could grasp the basics to deliver their classes independently without external assistance. This autonomy was possible due to the Open edX® platform’s intuitive user experience for all roles.
The successful implementation of this project highlighted the advantages that the Open edX® platform provides as a flexible, scalable, and powerful LMS. For ICdeBA the platform provided a valuable user experience that enabled non-tech savvy users to take and deliver online courses, as well as deliver the courses with superior performance and an excellent academic experience. Other enriching features for ICdeBA included adding a unified communication channel between teachers and students, via course massive emails, and enhancing the instructor capabilities, while delivering complementary reading materials in a clear and organized manner. But the key success factor in this case was the seamless integration for live sessions: no links, meeting IDs or passwords had to be shared (with the security risks involved in those practices). Students and teachers simply have to login to the campus with their username and password to enter the live sessions.
Launching the online courses with an integrated ecommerce module resulted in the expansion of the student base, which was traditionally restricted by the on-site infrastructure. Students from different regions of Argentina, as well as from other Latin American countries, were able to join the classes.
The combination of a learner-centric user experience, scalability, and robustness, along with the extensive feature availability, make the Open edX® platform an excellent alternative for rapid response solutions to migrate from on-site classes to an online environment. In these unprecedented times that we are living in, due to the pandemic, it has proved to be a fundamental tool for online courses.
At Aulasneo, we are passionate about education and technology. We provide e-learning solutions based on Open edX technology. We are based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of our projects are in Spanish speaking countries (Latin America and Spain) and we also have ongoing projects on other regions