Softline Helps Moscow Finance and Law University Reinvent its Educational Workflows Based on the Microsoft Teams Online Platform
The Softline team has helped the university reinvent their learning workflows with the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform while maintaining local infrastructure.
In the spring of 2020, Moscow Finance and Law University (MFUA), like most Russian educational institutions, was forced to switch to the e-learning model. In just 3 weeks, Softline and Microsoft helped MFUA configure Microsoft 365 cloud solutions for a certain pool of users in accordance with the university structure and needs. The platform was integrated with email servers, and the Microsoft Teams calendar was configured to support scheduling classes. For more than a year now, 10,000 students have been using the platform daily, joining about 30,000 online meetings each month.
Moscow University of Finance and Law is the oldest Russian non-state higher education institution, which has been topping the rating of Russian universities for several years in a row. There are more than 50 students at MFUA. Since 2007, MFUA has been topping the ranking of Russian non-state accredited universities.
Due to the pandemic, MFUA had to reorganize its entire educational process as soon as possible and move it online. The university decided to use Microsoft Teams as an educational platform. Teams features many tools for productive and easy interaction—chat, video conferencing, notes, and collaboration on documents. It was important for teachers and students to use a service optimized for mobile devices and enabling swift information exchange to improve learning efficiency.
"Together with the Softline's team, the university specialists enabled distance learning at MFUA using cutting-edge collaboration solutions powered by Microsoft 365. Now, that the services have been configured, we can not only hold lectures but also communicate with students and successfully manage learning in the new environment. As a result, we created a kind of a 'digital' copy of our university, which operated fine even when the participants of the educational process were just beginning to learn new ways of interacting,"—said Georgy Gorshkov, vice-rector of MFUA.
To accelerate the migration to the cloud while retaining the quality of educational services, the university turned to Softline. The experts of the global provider needed to implement the latest version of the email server and consolidate the Microsoft 365 cloud and the university's existing IT infrastructure in a hybrid environment. Then the MFUA specialists scaled the solution to all students and lecturers. As a result, the educational process has gone online and the local infrastructure was retained.
With Teams, teachers can create tasks for practical and laboratory works, attaching the necessary methodological content for their completion and forming detailed and transparent evaluation criteria. When a student completes the work, the instructor receives a notification. They can evaluate the assignment online, and the comments will be forwarded to the student.
In addition, the platform was used by the university during state exams. Students uploaded their works to their personal accounts and then submitted them for review by the state committee, which joined a dedicated team in Teams. The state exam fully imitated the on-site format. Two rooms were created: one for the students to talk to each other while waiting, and another for the committee, where students were invited in turn to take the exam and defend their thesis. All records from the exam were saved to OneDrive automatically.
"Today, ensuring the educational process continuity is a priority for both of us. That is why Microsoft actively supports various modes of institution operation and, in particular, of their learning processes. We offer solutions for traditional full-time, distance, or hybrid formats. We hope that new tools will allow MFUA to expand the variety of its approaches to educational activities and unlock new opportunities,"—said Elena Slivko-Kolchik, Head of Science and Education Relations Division at Microsoft Russia.
"The provider's team managed to solve the customer's problems as quickly as possible. They successfully integrated the Microsoft Teams cloud platform with local email servers. To do this, the team analyzed, upgraded, and connected the local email system to the cloud. As a result, they created a solution that allowed us to integrate the calendar with Teams through a hybrid configuration of local email servers. Thus they achieved the goal set by the university—organizing and managing the online education process in a single information environment,"—says Lyudmila Prudchenko, Softline Key Account Manager for Academic Institutions.