Image of masked staff on laptops

Last year, our community was urged to move all work from our on-site offices to completely remote within a few days. While, fortunately, our teams within DGIT and ISS had the tools available to facilitate remote work, we had to quickly make sure everyone could have the same access.

With the lockdown in place, we quickly pulled our IT Connect help desk from CHS and moved the support to Zoom while also placing strict protocols and providing PPE to the Desktop Support technicians that remained on-site. Both Desktop Support and IT Connect resolved 1,150 tickets from March 15 to April 15, the first month of the Safer at Home mandate. These requests included encryption of personal devices, Global Protect, information on remote access, DUO, MyDesktop, Zoom or personal computers.

Teaching and learning were also converted to remote overnight. Whether it was exam delivery, poster events, or practical labs, DGIT’s Educational Technology team worked swiftly with faculty and staff to ensure curriculum activities remained uninterrupted and the team was always available to ensure things ran smoothly.

Exams that were previously administered at the Technology Learning Center Lab in the UCLA Biomed Library with proctors, were now administered at home via Zoom using the students own devices. On exam days, we leveraged the use of Zoom breakout rooms with smaller group of students and two proctors in each room. In collaboration with School of Nursing faculty, the Ed Tech team was also able to virtualize a Suturing Lab. A lab that would normally take place in person with faculty teaching students proper suturing techniques were done via Zoom and required many moving parts with different camera angles.

In addition to remote delivery of exams, DGIT Ed Tech team in partnership with the DGSOM were able to virtualize several poster day events, such as Scholarship Day and Josiah Brown Summer Research Poster Fair. The Ed Tech team developed a virtual poster platform that allowed students to upload their abstract submission and poster presentations that also allowed the DGSOM to browse submissions and connect with the author via Zoom.

Another big challenge the pandemic created was a global supply chain constraint that impacted major technology manufacturers which in turn posed a risk on our ability to fill device requests. In an attempt to avoid causing significant delays, we placed bulk orders for our standard devices as soon as we were mandated to work remotely. While we were able to circumvent major issues thanks to our stock of standard devices, we did face challenges fulfilling requests for non-standard and higher performance devices. Now supply chains have become more reliable for our standard devices but we continue to face extended wait times for computer configurations that require custom specifications, high end graphics cards, or high-performance configurations.

A year later, much of our community is now accustomed and quite capable to working/learning remotely along with the security requirements needed to connect to the network. Many departments will return to work in a hybrid fashion and we are there to help. If you have any questions, have a new device, or are new to the organization, please feel free to contact our support teams for assistance with remote work or visit our Guide for Remote Work page.