HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Office of Information Services and Technologies (OIST) at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, sprang into action in response to sudden and drastic changes in operation that the College implemented as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic.
Under the leadership of Bob Messner, vice president of information technologies and chief information officer, OIST provides broad technical support for thousands of HACC students and employees through efficient, secure and economical technology solutions.
When HACC made the decision to move to remote instruction in response to the coronavirus, OIST quickly took the following actions:
- Expanded the number of remote desktop servers and licenses to meet the needs of employees who needed to access student information
- Expanded Zoom licenses to provide all employees access to Zoom without a time limitation
- Expedited the deployment of softphone technology to support students who call the College and need to be connected with essential employees
- Inventoried and collected webcams, headsets, laptops, desktops, iPads and hot spots that could be redeployed to employees and students with technology needs
Messner said the biggest challenge in transitioning to 100% remote instruction was the collegewide adoption of new technologies, including Zoom video conferencing, Google Drive and Brightspace (D2L), a learning management platform.
“Technology changes very rapidly, and so, too, must our users by embracing these new technologies so that we can continue to improve as an organization,” Messner said.
Looking to the future, Messner added that this sudden shift may lead to new approaches and demands in how students learn. “I believe that students who are receiving remote instruction today during these difficult times will demand access to instructional resources and lectures, and this will lead to our College implementing a lecture capture/streaming solution as part of everyday operations.”
Messner said, “As a first-generation college graduate in my family, I value education and the opportunities available to me as a result of my degrees. I want each student to have the same opportunity to achieve their academic goals and for them to share in those opportunities.”
A message from Messner is available in the HACC Heroes YouTube playlist.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 19,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit hacc.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram (@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HACC64) and use #HACCNews.