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Butler IT works through nights to prep more than 700 laptops for online instruction

A Butler information services worker configures shelves full of laptops.
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Butler mobilizes institution in less than two weeks

EL DORADO, Kan. – As of this week, Butler Community College is in its final week of extended spring break for students, leaving college personnel mere days to finalize steps for moving classes 100% online beginning Monday, March 30. All classes will resume in an online format for the remainder of the semester. 

According to Lori Winningham, vice president of academics, 2,234 sections will be totally online beginning Monday and that includes 29 sections for Adult Basic Education. Fortunately, Butler offered its first online class in 1998 and has a department dedicated to training faculty and another department dedicated solely to supporting the uniqueness of the online learning environment.  

But in order to teach and learn online, technology must be in place first and that means computers. Bill Young, Butler’s vice president of digital transformation, has a staff of IT professionals who have been scrambling for the past two weeks of spring week to outfit laptops for instructors to take home for teaching the classes. His staff has been working around the clock – literally.  

“They stayed the other night until 4 a.m. configuring laptops,” said Young. “We are repurposing laptops from across the institution, taking them from physical classrooms and computer labs so that we can have them accessible for faculty. We now have more than 760 laptops ready for implementation and some of those have been made available to staff as well since all employees are working remotely for the time being. Essentially, we mobilized the entire institution in a week and a half.”

Enrollment for summer and fall courses is open and college operations are functioning though the college is temporarily closed to the public. Butler’s Critical Incident Management Team continues to meet several times a week to assess the latest developments and to make the necessary decisions facing them. The latest information can be found at www.butlercc.edu.