ECPI University Students Succeed in Remote Learning Environment
For most, the word Coronavirus was not even in their vocabulary a short time ago. Now, it is about the only thing people talk about. Major sectors of the economy shut down and classrooms across the nation went vacant. At ECPI University, however, students have not skipped a beat. They’re still learning, just in a different environment. While some institutions were still learning how to migrate on-campus students to a virtual classroom, ECPI University was ready for the challenge the moment it arrived.
As early entrants into online learning, ECPI’s educators have taken everything they had learned during the past 15 years and applied it to the current circumstances. The result: Remote Learning. The difference? Online learning is more self-paced. In a matter of days, ECPI University created a synchronous learning environment that replicates, to the greatest extent possible, the on-campus experience. Integrating Microsoft Teams with the University’s own proprietary VCASTLE system, students began meeting at their regular class times and performed lab work in the same structured environment they prefer.
One of the most advanced computer laboratory platform systems in the country, VCASTLE (Virtualization, Cloud, and Storage Technology Learning Environment) is designed to enhance the student experience by providing access to real equipment with built-in advanced operating systems and lab exercises. “Student feedback so far has been very positive,” says Dr. Wael Ibrahim, ECPI University Dean of Electronics Engineering Technology. “Students who had difficulty making it to campus on time are now some of the first to show up for the virtual meetings and are even bragging about! The spirit in the classroom is high and students are interacting with one another in a fun and positive way. In fact, those who may have been hesitant in asking questions are now submitting their questions via chat.
“It is really impressive how the faculty, in these challenging times, have been able to adapt quickly and provide students a remote delivery environment comparable to the face-to-face on-campus one. They are showing a great degree of understanding, compassion, and support to the individual student and their needs.”
– Dr. Wael Ibrahim, ECPI University Dean of Electronics Engineering Technology
“Faculty members are using presentation channels within Teams for students to work in groups and then come and report for some classes. Other classes are using simulation software for their labs and for illustration during virtual class time.”
“I’ve found it all very interesting,” says Virginia Beach Cyber and Information Technology student Chad Wolbert. “Of course, I would prefer to be on campus, but learning how to use all these tools will be very useful once I graduate and begin working as a professional.” Fellow Cybersecurity student Gabrielle Warner agrees. “I can’t complain,” she says. “The faculty has been great and having class at the exact same times helps me to maintain my discipline.”
ECPI University’s academic team has also created a training shell for faculty and students to address many anticipated issues and concerns and it’s being updated daily, sometimes hourly, with any new technology resources that have proven successful. “It is really impressive how the faculty, in these challenging times, have been able to adapt quickly and provide students a remote delivery environment comparable to the face-to-face on-campus one,” says Dr. Ibrahim. “They are showing a great degree of understanding, compassion, and support to the individual student and their needs.”