Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design Goes 100% Online Amid the Pandemic
How are institutions responding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? How are they keeping their students engaged and on track with their academic and careers goals?
Since 1963, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design has instilled in their students a passion for creativity, innovation, and a desire for lifelong learning—both in the fine arts and applied arts. Offering on-ground, online, and hybrid programs, the college was nonetheless ready to pivot to fully online operations when the pandemic hit. How did they do it?
Moving to the Cloud
Before the health crisis, RMCAD had been migrating their student information system and constituents from a thick-client model to CampusNexus Student, a student information system built on Microsoft Azure Cloud. “By the time the pandemic hit, the cloud platform was already live and we could move everyone online very quickly as on-campus operations came to a halt," said Matt Weitzel, IT Project Manager at RMCAD.
Benefiting from Managed Services
The RMCAD IT team also made the decision early to take advantage of Campus Management’s Managed Services option. This helped ensure data integrity across departments and systems during the transition to CampusNexus Student. “Without Managed Services, we would not have had that safety net for our remote employees. We would have to hire a system administrator with twelve years of experience with CampusNexus and probably pay them more individually than what we are paying Campus Management for their entire Managed Services package,” said Weitzel.
Extending the Full Campus Experience to Constituents’ Mobile Devices
RMCAD leveraged the partnership between Campus Management and Ready Education to accelerate the development of a robust mobile app to connect the college’s community through cellphones and other mobile devices. Integrated with college’s SIS, LMS and constituent portals, the Ready Education mobile app now extends the full campus experience to students and staff.
Staying Positive – and Creative
One of RMCAD’s students tweeted this amid the lock-down: “It is so important to create right now to keep your mind off of everything that is going on in the world and help bring a smile to someone else’s face during these trying times.” With the institution and the campus experience still at their fingertips, these current and future artists can continue to flourish in the best of times, 2020…and beyond.