If the Delta and Lambda COVID-19 variants are concerning you as you prepare for the upcoming semester, you’re far from alone. Despite expectations of a return to normal among students and staff, it appears the Delta variant has other ideas. It’s even become the latest meme: “My fall plans vs. the Delta variant.”
Sectors across the US economy are scrambling to develop backup plans for potential shutdowns and other unexpected events. Right now, it’s critical not to panic, but instead focus your energy on creating a well-thought-out plan that minimizes any potential threats to your operations.
Keep in mind that we’re not in the same position as we were during the initial shutdowns. Since 2020, your organization has learned a lot. Using those lessons to implement an action plan will prevent disruptions to students’ learning and progress.
This post will discuss what you can expect, plus how best to prepare your organization in the face of uncertainty.
Companies and institutions have adopted remote work and study quickly and successfully, thanks to current innovations in technology. While we didn’t see the initial Covid lockdown coming—imagine what we could have achieved if we did.
However troubling the news of the Delta variant may be, organizations do have time to prepare students by selecting connected remote learning platforms. This preparation step is beneficial for students because it reduces disruptions, but it also makes it easier for the staff to operate and maintain them.
Consider choosing a flexible online proctoring solution that integrates your existing learning management system (LMS) such as Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle. Choosing remote proctoring that can serve as a standalone solution means students will still be able to complete exams even if other systems go down.
Most organizations have put health and safety at the forefront. Whether it’s plastic barriers, masks, or hand sanitizer, these are still essential precautions. Yet, at the same time, we must safeguard our students’ sensitive data during remote work, study, and exam-taking.
One of the easiest ways to secure sensitive information and materials is by using an online proctoring solution that prioritizes student privacy and security. A critical feature that indicates that security is a priority for a proctoring brand is whether or not they offer a locked-down browsing experience.
Using a secure browser reduces the following risks associated with remote exam proctoring:
Transparency is essential to keeping students calm, focused, and on task. Intentional communication helps organizations achieve transparency. Without deliberate messaging, organizations can cause undue stress to their staff and students. Brush up on change management best practices, so you can effectively communicate during unpredictable circumstances.
Consider using what you learned from your last pivot to make the remote transition more seamless. Next, organize how you’ll structure your messages and the mode of communication you’ll use to update students in real-time. Finally, use this information to prepare a communication template in advance.
Your online proctoring technology should allow you to communicate critical information about exams quickly and easily. When proctoring online exams, always keep two-way communication flowing to ensure students get the help they need during exams.
Support your students during these times of change so that no matter what happens, they can still succeed and have a positive experience with your organization. It’s up to your organization to ensure a stress-free exam experience. Be mindful that not only will students be taken out of traditional classroom settings they thrived in, but they may feel suddenly isolated, creating more exam anxiety.
Proctoring solutions that maintain top-notch support help you to create that positive experience for students. The quality and responsiveness of your proctoring solutions’ tech support are crucial during high-stakes exams. As a rule of thumb, you and your test-takers should not be kept waiting any longer than 2-3 minutes for a support response.
It takes more than tools and resources to pivot successfully during uncertain times—it requires a flexible mindset. As the Delta variant spreads, prepare for obstacles and begin to view everything through the lens of possible change.
Staying flexible requires you to anticipate what’s ahead. With the pandemic still impacting the globe, foresight is becoming critical. Keep tabs on the following trends and reflect on how they may impact your organization and students:
Anticipating and understanding the impacts of these changes will help you formulate a plan that helps keep your organization running smoothly.
Change is inevitable, but chaos doesn’t have to be. Those who hoped for a return to normalcy may find the news of the impending Delta variant frustrating and disheartening. However, it helps to acknowledge that we aren’t in the same place we were during the initial 2020 lockdowns. With the information we have now, we can help our schools succeed despite uncertainty.
Ensuring your LMS and online proctoring solutions operate remotely will provide necessary consistency for students in their academic careers. We must prioritize students’ physical safety and their online safety as well. In addition, prevent headaches and communication errors by planning messages and support. Finally, staying on top of the trends for this semester will help you feel more competent, whatever comes your way.
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