IT resources in response to coronavirus

A student sits alone working on a laptop on UB's downtown campus.

Published March 11, 2020

UB, like many institutions, is working proactively to respond to the international coronavirus outbreak. IT resources for working and learning remotely are an important part of the university’s continuity planning.

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I want to thank UB’s leadership, who have worked quickly to build a coordinated coronavirus response to best ensure the health and safety of those on campus, communicate important and accurate information in a timely way, and plan for the necessary contingencies.

I also want to thank UB’s faculty and staff for their proactive efforts in planning for these contingencies. UB’s preparedness effort has placed strong emphasis on providing resources to facilitate learning and working remotely given current in-person class cancellations.

UBIT is offering trainings on our online teaching and collaboration tools, such as:

  • Resources like Panopto are available to help you easily record, edit, caption and share educational videos and presentations with students from any device.
  • UBbox, UB’s web-based, unlimited and secure cloud storage, is integrated with Microsoft Word, Google Docs and other apps, and features powerful collaboration features than ensure you can create, open and edit important documents any time.
  • Webex makes it possible to host office hours and group meetings remotely with video, voice and chat.
  • And UB Learns, our Learning Management System, is a online environment to create, deliver and manage course content. It also integrates with many other UB online resources for a seamless experience.

Building an IT environment that is redundant, resilient, well protected and available from anywhere has been the cornerstone of UBIT’s strategic plan. But more work is required to ensure we are prepared for the unique type of disruption that the coronavirus threatens.

During March 2020, we will be training more IT staff in different areas to triage technical problems with remote services as they arise. Our goal is to offer a rapid and effective response when you contact our UBIT Help Center; we want to be as responsive and as flexible as the customers we serve.

In many ways, preparing for coronavirus on an institutional level is not much different from we prepare as individuals. Like washing our hands or avoiding hand-to-face contact, we are putting into practice behaviors to limit the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. At UB, we are identifying the best practices for health and safety so we can keep ourselves and our community healthy and focused on the future.

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