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Professors and students at the Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt.

COMMUNICATION

Looking Back at the AUP Digital Campus

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Spring 2020 was a semester like no other for AUP. As the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of university campuses across France, the AUP community needed to implement remote teaching and learning strategies quickly. In record time, we shifted course materials online and retrained staff and faculty in distance learning and working methods. But these challenges came with new opportunities; the rapid shift online highlighted many ways in which our resilient community of global explorers consistently displays flexibility, collaboration and skill. 

With that in mind, the AUP Digital Campus was designed to bring the community together in an online space while the physical campus remained inaccessible. It was a collaborative project, created by the AUP community and for the AUP community. Its aim was twofold: to amalgamate the University’s remotely available services and resources in an easily accessible online space, and to foster community spirit at a time of social distancing. Staff, students, faculty, alumni, parents, trustees and friends worked together to create a common space of learning and support, within which they could help their peers and colleagues through a difficult time. 

In order to ensure that the Digital Campus was easy to navigate, we divided its content into five clear sections.  

  • Explore and Discover led users quickly to new content, allowing readers to get a sense of just how active the AUP community was continuing to be.  

  • Learn and Work focused on making the transition to remote education as painless and efficient as possible for staff, students and faculty. 

  • Ask and Find gathered services and resources available to the AUP community in one easily accessible central hub. 

  • Connect and Communicate allowed community members to propose their own projects and get involved in community-led initiatives across the University. 

  • Create and Play gathered resources related to keeping active and occupied during confinement, helping community members unwind with shared activities. 

As part of the digital campus, the Office of Communications contributed a series of projects designed to contribute original, community-focused content to self-isolating global explorers. Firstly, the AUP at Home blog was a space for community members to share tips and tricks about adapting to remote learning and working as well as advice for adapting to spending so much time at home. Contributions covered topics such as maintaining good health and wellness while in isolation and the best movies to stream to practice your French from home. The blog was so successful that it will continue beyond deconfinement in a new form as the AUP Community Blog

Secondly, the Good Morning, Global Explorers podcast provided a 3-minute daily morning update for the AUP community. Each episode was guest-presented by a different community member, who provided insight into the innovative projects continuing across the University during confinement. Community challenges were used to engage the audience in a conversation about how to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, and regular reminders of available resources ensured that community members could find the support they needed to stay in good health and on top of their studies. You can listen to a roundup of the first season of the podcast online now

Thirdly, the Learning Laboratory video series provided a platform for staff and faculty to explore how the Covid-19 pandemic might affect their fields of study. The project aimed to shift the conversation surrounding the virus to focus on academic rigor and intellectual debate, looking to the future in order to explore how disciplines and industries may evolve due to the current moment. The Learning Laboratory is an ongoing series and will continue into the Fall semester, taking on new topics and exploring the connection between a global liberal arts education and current events across the planet. 

Thanks to the AUP Digital Campus, the community spirit of our global explorers remained clearly on display throughout the confinement period. As we look forward to reopening our physical campus in the Fall semester, we are redistributing certain elements of the Digital Campus to more permanent homes across the website. The lessons we have learned and new skills we have acquired from moving quickly and efficiently to remote education will now form integral parts of our communications strategy moving forward. To find out more about the project and get a sense of how our community reacted to Covid-19, you can visit the archived version of the AUP Digital Campus.