To ensure the safety of its students, teachers and staff, Thammasat University announced the temporary closure of its campuses on March 23 and has since completely shifted all classes to an online format.
To ensure clarity and minimize complications during this transition, the University has opted for Microsoft Teams for Education as its one and only learning platform for 41,400 students. The platform has been utilized for virtual classrooms and class management across departments and sections with drastically different sizes – from an overall average of 50 students per class to a maximum of 500.
Microsoft Teams for Education is an application for communications and collaboration designed to fully support the education sector with the ability to welcome up to 5,000 students per class. Up to 200 smaller sub-classes can be created for different group projects learning topics. The platform also offers an effective way to evaluate student engagement in virtual environments, while seamless integration with Moodle – a learning management system already in use at Thammasat University – facilitate ease of use in general administration tasks, grading, registrations, and online assignments. Both teachers and students can conveniently start using Microsoft Teams by simply logging into their existing university-issued user accounts, which reduces the confusion caused by switching back and forth between different platforms and services.
In addition, students can effectively collaborate on group projects with file sharing that allows for a maximum file size of 15GB – plus support for up to 100 people editing the same file simultaneously. The large data storage space is available for free to every lecturer and student, while time management is made easier with class and exam schedules available directly from calendars in Microsoft Teams for Education and Outlook. Furthermore, Office 365’s online form creator Microsoft Forms has also been put into use for organizing exams online.
To further accommodate all users, Thammasat University has prepared a series of introduction videos for Microsoft Teams for Education to teach the basics for lecturers and students alike on the university’s own website. A dedicated microsite was also developed specifically for university personnel to help all staff understand how to use Microsoft Teams better and enable the organization of additional activities such as webinars.
With additional costs for access to online learning amid drastic changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has issued support measures such as providing free SIM cards for mobile Internet access and offering scholarships for affected students. Meanwhile, with Microsoft Teams for Education already part of Office 365 and under the university’s existing Microsoft software and services license agreement, there is no additional infrastructure investment required for the transition to online learning.
Thammasat University has already completed all courses in the latest semester with an average of 30,000 daily active users on Microsoft Teams by the end of the semester.