Pivoting to Remote Learning on a Budget

May 11, 2020 |  Budget
2 min

Community colleges across the nation are facing even more budget cuts and the strain of preparing for the unknown.

The pandemic necessitated a quick move to remote learning, but many community and technical colleges whose budgets were already stretched thin are facing tough choices for the coming semester. 

The recent stimulus package left out a lot of community colleges, while many are facing sharp declines in enrollment and are bracing for a grim Fall semester. 

With the uncertainty of funds, enrollment and remote delivery, IT staff are being asked to do more with less. But what if you’ve already been doing more with less?

Make the most with what you have right now. 

Turn to the data to create a plan for what can be cut. If you have LabStats, start with Software Inventory to see a list of all the software you have installed across campus. Odds are, there’s older versions, forgotten subscriptions and unused software you can cut right away. 

Then, run an Application Summary report to see the applications that are used the most and least. Consider cutting the least used to free up your budget for new priorities.

Don’t let hardware sit idle.

Just because campus is closed, it doesn’t mean that all your investments in computers are wasted. If you have LabStats installed on computer lab machines, you can make those machines available to students remotely with the Remote Access Dashboard.

Students can securely log into campus workstations from the safety of their homes, tapping into powerful campus machines and school-provided software from a wide range of home tech (including Chromebooks).

You can also make classroom computers and faculty desktops computers available remotely, ensuring that students and staff have access to vital tech even while off campus.

Give students what they need to feel supported.

With the financial hardships so many students are facing, they’re looking to their school for hope and security. Something as simple as extending access to campus resources or positioning remote learning as a flexible option amid changing work schedules and family responsibilities can bolster students’ confidence.

Community and technical colleges play a vital role in local economies. As enrollment for 4 year universities and on-campus living goes trends downward, there’s an opportunity for community colleges to step up and meet the demand for local, affordable education.

Prepare for the future

Focus on what you can do now to prepare for the future. Remote access to computer labs is a flexible solution that meets an immediate need and can continue to add value to the student experience in the long run. 

Adjusting computer labs and workspaces to accommodate for social distance, and developing hybrid classes that can move completely online in a hurry will also hedge against the uncertainty of the coming semesters.

How is your college facing the challenges of tomorrow?

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