When COVID-19 was being talked about as a potential threat, our organization started taking note of what was happening and how the situation was developing. We had started talking about online classes at the beginning of March when many of us dismissed the topic with a smirk and a wave of the hand. Luckily, our management approached the potential threat carefully. Although lockdown hadn't yet been announced, and nobody had really been expecting it, we started to explore the ways in which we could continue with classes if it was to come to that.
How it all started
When one of our employees' family members had been sent home from work, we took that move seriously and started organizing online classes, just in case things took a turn for the worse.
Within three days the whole organization was prepared, with lockdown being announced starting 18th of March, 2020.
It was a Monday, but the week before – from Wednesday to Sunday – we had been recording video tutorials on how to participate in Zoom classes, and had set up and organized our schedule for over 200 lessons on the Zoom platform, and then again in our own CRM system. On top of that, we had to inform over 700 students about online classes and let them decide if they wanted to continue with us or not. Based on that, we had to reorganize existing groups.
The effort we put in
Twenty three teachers had to be educated in the new way of teaching classes from home, and had to be familiarized with the Zoom program. We also set up online support for students and teachers alike. In addition, it was necessary to share the work equipment that was available to us at the time – from laptops, keyboards, workbooks for home use...
The task was challenging, but we were ready for it. After five days of intense work done by all the members of our organization, the school commenced its first online lessons on Monday – the first day of lockdown in Croatia. While other organizations were just starting to come to terms with the reality of a halt in in-school lessons, we were already three steps ahead.
The first week
The first week flew by chaotically. It was the first time many students had met with online tools, and support was needed for them to be able to participate in classes. Many teachers also had problems with internet connections, equipment, etc. This resulted in an almost constant need for online support, which was provided to both students and professors. Alas, our efforts paid off. We realized that we were one of the few schools which had had a smooth transition from in-school to online lessons in the first days of lockdown. The support and reliability we provided for our students resulted in an unbelievable sense of thankfulness and confidence towards our organization.
It all paid off
In the end, our organization didn't end up losing students but rather expanded its coverage over the whole of Croatia. This is because before the COVID 19 crisis we were only focused on Zagreb and Split where we had schools, and the online lessons we offered on Skype were only for a few classes a week.
Today, when online lessons have become a new standard, our organization has also broadened the type of services we can offer to our students online.
We are extremely proud of our entire team and the success we achieved during the COVID crisis, and we would love for our story to inspire others.
Author Jelena Posavec