There is one university in Mexico that’s been educating the country’s leaders in business, government, science, academics, and even sports for the past 80 years – providing a beacon for others to follow.
That would be Tecnológico de Monterrey – known colloquially as Tec de Monterrey – and consistently ranked as one of the world’s 200 best colleges.
Like educational institutions everywhere, the international pandemic forced Tec de Monterrey to pivot to remote learning. What made this particular university unique, though, was that the switch to virtual was accomplished in just over one week.
In that time period, it became the first Mexican university to offer a comprehensive learning program available to students around the country, as well as internationally. This project, known as HyFlex+Tec, not only set the bar for other educational institutions but provided a window into what learning will look like when the threat of COVID-19 subsides.
A tradition of pushing boundaries
Founded in 1943 by a group of business leaders led by brewing heir Eugenio Garza Sada, Tec de Monterrey’s mission was to cultivate highly skilled university graduates and technicians to assist Monterrey’s burgeoning corporations. In the 1940s, Mexican companies were still largely reliant on US markets, investments and technology. As a result, internationalization became a top priority.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international pandemic in March 2020, an air of uncertainty swept through the institution. Strict social distancing and remote learning were enforced, and Tec de Monterrey acted quickly to meet the evolving need of employees and students without compromising educational standards.
No time to lose
In order for the faculty to make the most of available technological possibilities, Tec de Monterrey had to rapidly familiarize teachers with the best techniques to deliver lectures and tutorials virtually.
With more than 150,000 students and 30,000 faculty and support staff working remotely, the university had to also monitor personnel well-being, assess support needs, and compile information to make the proper planning decisions.
To accomplish this, a number of surveys would have to be sent to specific groups within the campus community. With people’s minds already muddled by the health challenges they were facing in other parts of their lives, the questions needed to be straight-forward and easy to comprehend.
Rapid roll out
Turning to multi-national software trailblazer SAP quickened the tempo of the new implementations. The SAP SuccessFactors Learning solution helped Tec de Monterrey create a digital teaching forum.
The results were astonishing!
- In just ten days, lecture halls were swapped for virtual classrooms.
- 10,000 faculty members were trained to deliver courses via a digital platform.
- 100 percent of the student body continued their learning remotely.
In time, some Tec de Monterrey courses would be given in immersive classrooms integrating video, communications, and artificial intelligence technologies to break down distance barriers and maintain the spontaneity between teachers and students.
Then there’s the cool factor: In certain classrooms, teachers could move around during their lectures while being followed by a number of cameras, using a touch screen that worked like an electronic whiteboard, and directly addressing the life-sized faces of up to 150 students!
Preparing for tomorrow
Once virtual learning was in place, Tec de Monterrey worked on gaining a sense of overall student and employee well-being, identifying areas where support was necessary.
To best achieve this, a series of electronic surveys were developed through the use of Experience Management solutions from SAP and Qualtrics.
With the information acquired, the institution was able to formulate clearly focused programs, concentrating on topics ranging from mental health to finances to nutritional obstacles caused by being isolated during the pandemic. These insights allowed Tec de Monterrey to take concrete actions to assist more vulnerable members of the various campus communities.
As word spread of the velocity at which the HyFlex+Tec and related programs transformed Tec de Monterrey, the organization was selected as a 2021 SAP Innovation Awards finalist.
Today, while the world transitions, an SAP Fiori app is in place to assist more than 180,000 people safely returning to campus. Because of the survey data, Tec de Monterrey has a better understanding of the staffing requirements during the period when remote and on-campus learning are both available.
By Keith Greenberg, SAP Global Marketing Contributor