AWS Public Sector Blog

Singapore University of Social Sciences supports remote learning and examination with Amazon Connect

Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) turned to Amazon Connect to support its students and staff during remote learning and examination periods in 2020. Established in 2005 as a private university before being restructured as an autonomous university in 2017, SUSS has been a forerunner in the adoption of education technology to serve its growing student population.

SUSS looks for simple and scalable alternatives for tech support calls

SUSS had to adjust its operations quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, SUSS already had a set of eLearning tools at its disposal: a learning management system (LMS), synchronous learning capabilities, and a video recording system. “We were able to extend our suite of eLearning tools to support the campus-wide implementation of home-based learning, which helped ease the transition,” said Lee Chye Seng, director of learning systems and applications at SUSS.

To supplement the tools that were already in place, the SUSS team scaled up its video conferencing capabilities so students could continue to learn in live classes and staff could video chat for online meetings. For its technical helpdesk call centre, SUSS was engaging another provider, which required VPN connectivity, licenses, and onsite systems to operate. This system was difficult to scale in a short timeframe—a necessity once students and staff were remote.

When SUSS went full-swing into their rollout of online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, they set up a separate school-based support structure using a popular video conference solution. Lecturers who needed assistance on the use of technology tools for online learning had to call into a common support number and then enter a long, specific meeting room ID to reach a team. Meanwhile, the provider handled phone calls from students seeking technical support.

“The system we had in place with individual meeting room IDs for faculty and students was working fine, but procedure-wise, it was rather tedious for the lecturers who were always required to enter a meeting ID,” said Chye Seng. “We wanted to try something that would be simpler for everyone to use as the end-of-year examination period approached.”

Getting set up with Amazon Connect

In May 2020, end-of-year final examinations were underway for SUSS students. The university continued to use their video conferencing solution for students who had to submit final assignments remotely. The process worked well, but the procedure was rather manual and cumbersome for the students who were already anxious when they ran into issues submitting assignments as a form of e-examination.

“In November 2020, we introduced Amazon Connect for students and lecturers to contact us for queries related to online exam and grading. School support teams could also reach out for complex issues encountered during online exams,” said Chye Seng.

“The shift from the previous system of individual school and room IDs to a simpler user experience with Amazon Connect provided immediate benefits,” Chye Seng noted. SUSS was able to get the solution up and running quickly: “We got started very quickly without having to refer to any online user guide. Its ease of use really impressed us. We were able to configure the system and commence internal testing within a day or so.”

Read more on SUSS’s journey in the cloud.

Subscribe to the AWS Public Sector Blog newsletter to get the latest in AWS tools, solutions, and innovations from the public sector delivered to your inbox, or contact us.

More Amazon Connect in the public sector resources: