How 2U is Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Written by Christopher "Chip" Paucek on Mar 16, 2020
Related content: Higher Education, Leadership
In just weeks, the Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the way the world lives, works, and learns. These are trying times for us all. Across our business, 2U is taking critical steps to ensure the continuity and delivery of our offerings as our partners’ campuses close, travel is impeded, and students are impacted globally. To me, the work of our 2Utes is as comprehensive as it is inspiring.
It’s made me proud to watch our teams come together at this time and continue to do what we do best—provide world-class support and services to our partners and their students. Here is some of the amazing work being done all across 2U to support our partners and their students as we all grapple with the COVID-19 crisis:
Supporting our Online Degree Partners
I’ll start with our degree programs, where our marketing and student engagement teams are doing everything they can to support prospective and current students—accepting applications, holding classes, and onboarding faculty and students. We’re assisting our partners as immersions are canceled or rescheduled and we’re providing best practices for virtual events. We’re working closely with faculty and students as clinical placement sites close and are exploring really innovative ways to provide virtual clinical experiences with our partners.
We’ve moved our course production capability entirely remote with a new and incredible studio-in-a-box approach, which allows faculty to record asynchronous content directly in their home or office with virtual assistance from a 2U course designer. It’s cool, innovative, and very important for us to continue the march of course production.
For students in the residential versions of 2U-powered degree programs who were impacted by campus closures, we’re working closely with our partners to quickly and easily allow those students access to the asynchronous and synchronous content that’s already available. It’s our way of making sure that all students, regardless of modality, get access to the incredible curriculum available from our partners.
Across the board, our partners have told us that the most critical way we can support them as they race to move their institutions online more broadly is by assisting their faculty. That’s why today, we announced that we’re offering our entire network of partners free access to No Back Row® PRO, a new service-oriented product we had been working on that features the same high-quality training that faculty in 2U-powered online programs receive as part of their onboarding.
And what’s even more amazing is we’re continuing to do all of this to support our degree programs and partners while working from all over the country thanks to incredible backend technology that supports us.
Moving our Boot Camps Online
Now to boot camps. As of today, we’ve moved 100% of our boot camps online regardless of the operating status of our university partners. 100%! That’s 300 bootcamps that are online as of today. Incredible. Our instructors are receiving immediate and on-going training and support to create effective learning environments for students in Zoom. The speed with which we made this transition is tremendous and a testament to our boot camp team. Most boot camp instructors and students did not sign up for online learning and they are a bit nervous about the change. The work of both admissions and everyone in university operations to make the change easier is commendable.
Enabling Short Course Production Remotely
And our short courses. As with our other products, we are confidently supporting the ongoing operations of our short courses. Our team is not letting the electricity supply in Cape Town affect the ability of our teams to deliver high-quality work and continuous support to our partners and students. Our remote teaching teams are ready, our course production teams are sharing best practices with faculty and are ready to deploy studio-in-a-box, and we are making sure prospective and current students’ goals of lifelong learning continue.
What’s so inspiring is that we’re all doing this while nearly every 2Ute is working from home. Pretty incredible!
I can’t overstate the amount of work that the team has put into providing support to our partners and their students over the past few weeks. Each and every one of our employees has made that possible and I could not be prouder of where we are as a company and a team. I am convinced that so many of these innovations will become a core part of how we do business going forward.
I also recognize that our people are doing all that in the face of increasingly complex personal situations and uncertainty in the world. They’re juggling young children home from school, kids returning from college, parents moving in, multiple people working from homes. These are not normal times. Thank you to all 2Utes for all that you do to make this possible. You rock. You are all inspiring me and it’s wonderful to see our strength.
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to provide updates here on our blog, The Latest, on what we’re doing to support our employees, partners, and students during this time. Wherever you are, please take care of yourselves and your families, and practice kindness.
We are strong. We will get through this together. Thanks to the 2U team for proving that to me every day.
Learn more about us.
At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.