Campus News

Breaking down the stats on UB’s spring of distance learning

Statistics of various technologies used for distance learning.

By DAVID J. HILL

Published May 29, 2020

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“Shifting course content to distance learning was no easy task, and I applaud the efforts of UB’s dedicated faculty and staff who made that happen without sacrificing the quality of education. ”
Graham Hammill, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School

There are probably other phrases that would do justice to the spring semester transition to distance learning. But this one seems most appropriate: zoom, zoom!

UB faculty, staff and students participated in 46 days of remote learning, a change necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of those five weeks, 31,380 UB students took part in more than 5,580 courses in Blackboard.

And, here’s the real whopper of a stat: 78,953 sessions using the Zoom videoconference platform accounting for 32,414,240 minutes. That’s over 540,000 hours, according to the computing prowess of Google. And if you keep going down that rabbit hole ─ which UBNow of course did ─ it amounts to 61 calendar years’ worth of Zoom sessions.

“Shifting course content to distance learning was no easy task, and I applaud the efforts of UB’s dedicated faculty and staff who made that happen without sacrificing the quality of education,” says Graham Hammill, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School.

Here are some other amazing stats provided by UBIT:

  • 32,130 Webex sessions representing 1,592,652 minutes
  • 24,859 Panopto lecture recordings representing 16,893,253 minutes
  • 93 loaner laptops and 46 loaned hotspots
  • 84,737 messages
  • 158,324 calls
  • 530,551 minutes of Cisco Jabber soft-phone calls taken from home
  • 6,027 students who graduated this spring and can get on with the next phase of their zoom life

To be sure, the technological undertaking of all this was no small feat.

“I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to our 2,509 professors and other instructors. To UBIT, including our 400 staff and student workers, my heartfelt gratitude for your professionalism and commitment to UB. Without you, the spring semester might have been much different. Finally, to the 150 IT professionals across the schools, colleges and administrative units, thank you for your partnership,” says Vice President and Chief Information Officer J. Brice Bible.

Bible attributes the smooth transition to these keys to success:

  • Dedicated and talented IT staff (central and distributed) who showed great passion in meeting the challenge of rapidly moving online.
  • Focused effort over the last few years into establishing robust collaboration tools and resources to support in-class and online instruction.
  • IT architectural design principles insuring resiliency and redundancy of all critical services.

Dilpreet Kaur, a first-year student in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, praised Jacobs School faculty members in a story that aired on Spectrum News Buffalo about how medical education changed this spring.

“It’s definitely a difficult transition watching patient interactions on YouTube. It’s not how I thought I’d be doing medical school for the first year. But I think UB has done a great job integrating the programs that they had available,” Kaur said.