Last year at London Film School (LFS), our Autumn term changed dramatically due to Covid-19. We were now looking at running as many classes as possible online, leaving only the essential practical classes for in-person teaching. This created its own set of challenges, such as making sure we scheduled classes so that students and staff weren’t being expected to have classes online at home in the AM and then use their lunch break to rush into school for an in-person class in the PM. Logistically this wouldn’t work, so the schedule was redesigned to accommodate this major factor. Once this was set, we then had the problem of facilitating all these online classes. Zoom was an obvious choice for many, but with limited time for meetings allowed on free accounts, and with a large staffing body to accommodate, we decided that Microsoft Teams would work best for us. We had already been using Teams across the school for a couple of years, so the familiarity was there, we just needed to work out how best to make it work for us.
Not wanting to clog up my personal calendar with meetings created for classes, we assigned all of the meetings to an admin account. We then proceeded to work through each week of term, creating Teams links for each online class. Soon after term started, we noticed that we were running into a few issues. The main one being that both Teams and CELCAT were populating the Outlook calendars of staff and students. This meant that if we had to move a class on CELCAT, a new event was being created in Outlook without erasing the old one from Teams.
We noted this issue, along with the fact that we didn’t want the endure the huge chore of creating Teams links again for hundreds of classes manually, and spoke to Tim from CELCAT to see if they could help.
They introduced us to CELCAT VCIM, which has helped us to prepare for our online Spring term in minutes instead of days! By sending all the classes we’re teaching online to an event store, in one swoop we can assign Teams links automatically to hundreds of classes; which previously took several days to achieve manually. It’s also helped solve the issue with Outlook calendar as we’re only using CELCAT to create Teams links and have taken our admin account out of the equation. If you’re not currently using CELCAT VCIM for your online teaching needs, I would 100% recommend it. The team were on hand to talk us through the initial steps of using it and gave us same day tech support when I ran into some small issues. You can choose to allocate Teams links to all events from a particular field or just one event that you may have scheduled late. We’re so grateful to CELCAT for providing us with this solution to help with an already stressful time.
For more information on VCIM or to request a demo, please visit the Timetabler 8 Integration page.