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Student communication despite systems being offline

The year started with difficulties for many companies and educational institutions. They had to take down various systems and servers because of a security risk at Citrix. The highest risk was that systems could not be available via remote-access. While for companies it meant that working from home was not possible, educational institutions had to deal with students not being able to access systems at all. The biggest problem of all? With the systems down, there was no way to communicate with students. However, this wasn’t the case for some educational institutions.

Various systems down

With the news of leaks in Citrix software, companies and educational institutions took the precaution of taking down their systems. Students felt the consequences, as they were no longer able to access the information they use on a daily basis.

“As a student it is frustrating when you are trying to access the information and systems you need, and it is not possible,” says Ronald Kouvelt, CEO at StuComm. “Students have exam deadlines, want to study and finish assignments. When you are unable to, that is frustrating. The biggest problem was the fact that students were not kept in the loop. Systems usually used to inform students, were offline.”

Student communication is still possible

Educational institutions using the StuCommApp were able to communicate with their students, despite the problems. “We believe in effective student communication. Students have to be able to access information, at all times. When this is not the case, students need to be kept in the loop of the reason for this and when it will be solved.” With that in mind, the StuCommApp was developed.

Jelgar de Wilde, IT Development Manager at InHolland University of Applied Sciences, wanted to inform his students and asked StuComm for help. “With the StuCommApp we were able to send our students a status message. They received a notification about the problems. If they were already logged into the app, they would be able to see all the details in the message center. If students were not yet logged into the app, they would see all details when opening the app. This way we could keep our students in the loop and notify them of the communication channels that were still available, like our social media. Despite all limitations caused by the leak at Citrix, the app and our social channels allowed us to communicate with our students. For us that is crucial, especially in an extraordinary situation like this!”

The StuCommApp is not part of the existing systems. StuComm provides all necessary information to students, through interacting with different systems. Even when those systems are offline, students can access that information. Through caching information such as their timetables and study results, they are temporarily stored on their device. And when the situation is more pressing, educational institutions can notify their students like InHolland University of Applied Sciences did.

“Technical difficulties such as those that were experienced recently, are frustrating for educational institutions. We are glad that in these situations, we can be part of the solution”, Ronald Kouvelt concluded.

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