Enabling Remote Learning with WhatsUp Gold

Jeff Ryan was in better shape than most when COVID-19 hit. As the Director of IT for Danville Area School District, he’d presided over the rollout of Chromebooks to most of the students over 2019. But when COVID-19 restrictions started going in place in March of 2020, he faced the same challenge as every other academic IT manager: how to quickly transition a massive number of students to remote learning.

Jeff had to put a solution in place that would allow all his 2500 students, faculty and staff to access the school network simultaneously and handle traffic loads far beyond what had ever been intended. He had to get the necessary software to everyone, develop a remote learning process, train the teachers and provide them with the required hardware – all in just a few weeks. Rolling out the rest of the Chromebooks to his kindergarten students was a trivial exercise, in comparison!

But Jeff had an advantage with the tool he was already using to monitor his network: WhatsUp Gold. With uptime and connectivity suddenly critical, Jeff needed to know about issues before they impacted his teachers and his students. By leveraging WhatsUp Gold’s powerful Network Traffic Analysis feature, Jeff is able to track bandwidth usage for his servers, applications and even his Meraki wireless access points. When his ISP had an unexpected outage, he could address it immediately. When his APs started to get overloaded, he could compensate. And when hundreds of students and teachers started streaming massive amounts of video, he could ensure there were no bottlenecks and no interruptions as his traffic soared to over 600GB of data.

Jeff and his IT team monitor over 100 devices with WhatsUp Gold, taking advantage of the unique at-a-a-glance visibility of the interactive network map it provides. They rely on real-time alerts sent straight to their phones to fix errors and identify network usage anomalies well before their end-users even notice. “I don’t like to be surprised when something goes down,” Ryan added. “That’s why I love the WhatsUp Gold dashboard. I can customize it with what’s important to me—I get an instant snapshot of my entire network.”

WhatsUp Gold gives the district’s IT team complete confidence they would be able to handle the workload as the district switched to a hybrid learning model. In fact, the DASD IT team can spend more time working with teachers on innovative ways to bring the classroom home. This includes rolling out a comprehensive streaming setup involving OBS and Google Meet, complete with unique document sharing workarounds that further enhance the remote learning experience.

“Today, the impact of anything going wrong is huge—the kids really lose out,” Ryan explained. “With everything up on a second monitor and easily visible, we are better positioned to ensure that doesn’t happen. And in fact, we can even go one step further and really bring value to our students.”

For more details on how Jeff Ryan leveraged WhatsUp Gold to create an innovative and effective remote learning solution, check out the presentation below or read the DASD case study here. To give WhatsUp Gold a try yourself, you can download a free trial or see it in action with our interactive online demo.

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