CSUSM’s response to the current disruptions highlighted its adaptability as it quickly moved to explore and adopt new service models such as Microsoft Teams. Even prior to the COVID-19 event, CSUSM was piloting Microsoft Teams to provide enhanced virtual services and communications to the campus community. As the campus rapidly shifted to virtual, Teams saw a huge increase in adoption, and IITS provided extensive training to ensure a smooth transition. Units across campus rapidly adopted Teams as a flexible and consolidated mobile platform that has proven more effective than traditional email through its social media style communications, real-time chat, shared files, and virtual meeting spaces.
CSUSM’s flexibility and innovative tendencies were demonstrated by the swift shift to Microsoft Teams. By way of reference, by March 2020 CSUSM had a total of 470 active teams, which represented 55% of all teams created at CSUSM up until that point. To put the usage in perspective, usage prior to COVID-19 was less than 100 group messages, 5ooo individual messages, and less than 20 calls/meetings per month. Campus usage peaked in April, at an amazing 40,000 group messages, over 368,000 private messages sent, 9,700 calls, and 3,554 meetings!
These numbers demonstrate how CSUSM’s shift to Teams has enabled administrative units, committees, and impromptu groups to improve and enhance internal communications through a centralized productivity platform. Administratively, Teams has seen high adoption at the division and department level and has proven to be a very effective tool that enables robust cross-divisional collaborations and a rapid response to changing campus realities. Faculty also adopted Teams, with Academic Senate quickly establishing Teams for all standing committees and for live virtual voting. Additionally, Teams has enabled CSUSM to create virtual spaces for student support— including persistent spaces for virtual advising, virtual tech support, virtual tutoring and Supplemental Instruction—which offer students easier access to services, including through low-bandwidth, chat-based support. Teams has proven to be a valuable platform for CSUSM’s virtual support services, making student support robust, consistent, and consolidated.