Page 9 - Campus Technology, January/February 2018
P. 9

Let the Classes Begin
Because there’s no air conditioning and few fans for the classrooms, students attending classes on campus mostly sit outdoors under tents and in breezeways. The school now has running water for the restrooms — but it’s not potable, so the university makes bottled water available.
Those attending courses online are doing so through Moodle Mobile on their phones and tablets. Anybody who has access to generated power can register and take classes. Last year, the institution offered 175 Moodle courses with 778 sections; currently, the school has 67 courses with 117 sections. In spite of the gap between what was and what is, said Middaugh, campus leaders are “amazed” by the attendance numbers.
While many of Sagrado’s previous online offerings were courses for dedicated online programs, now the school is creating core courses as quickly as it can. In fact, added Middaugh, Sagrado has put the call out for foundational bilingual courseware already designed for Moodle or that can be ported from another LMS. The campus is working with a learning consultant from the City University of New York on this effort, Middaugh noted, but access to additional offerings would enable it to get more courses up more quickly.
According to the institution, undergraduate enrollment has grown semester-over-semester. The 2016 enrollment
for undergrads was 4,302; in 2017, that number increased to 4,411 students. Graduate enrollment, however, took a dive from 519 to 413 over the same period. One reason for the overall increase: Sagrado is operational even as other institutions on the island are still struggling to open, so it’s seeing transfer students come in to continue their studies.
Peering Into the Future
In the intervening weeks, Dynamic Campus has undertaken the move of the university’s financial system, Kuali, to AWS
keeping internet services running.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do right now,”
Middaugh admitted. “But our initial thoughts are to test satellite communications with AWS from the island.” On an upcoming trip, his crew will travel to San Juan armed with satellite modems, to see whether transactions back to Amazon will work via satellite.
A team of 10 at Dynamic Campus was put on the project, working 24/7 during the weeks it took to get the university’s systems onto the cloud. But even then,
While many of Sagrado’s previous online offerings were courses for dedicated online programs, now the school is creating core courses as quickly as it can.
as well. Once that’s done, Kuali will be connected to the campus’s ADP service, which handles payroll.
But the work doesn’t end there, said Middaugh. Marxuach has expressed concern regarding the relative vulnerability of the fiber optic submarine data communications cables that link Puerto Rico to the rest of the region. That cabling runs right over the Puerto Rico Trench, an oceanic trench that some geophysicists consider overdue for a major earthquake. Should that kind of disruption occur, the university president wants to be ready with alternatives for
Middaugh emphasized, that still doesn’t come close to what Sagrado accomplished for itself. “I have to give it to those people,” he said. “They did [what we did] with no running water, no way to cook, no air conditioning and in 90-degree heat in closed, confined buildings. They had it a lot worse than we did. They have done a remarkable job.”
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for Cam- pus Technology.
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

   7   8   9   10   11