When COVID-19 threatened to disrupt USC’s family ties and sense of connection this semester, experts in USC Information Technology Services quickly stepped in.

They had to provide a virtual space online where Trojan students, faculty, staff and alumni could get together while they stayed physically apart. And they had to do it fast.

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“We moved up to fifth gear in March, and we haven’t really backed down from there,” said Veronica Garcia, associate chief information officer of application services. “Last semester was the disruptor, and it was about reacting and learning how to be online. This semester, we knew we had to provide more.”

Dozens of ITS developers, coders and technicians studied ways to use technology to bring Trojans together. They were joined by ITS communication and training experts to plan, promote and teach people how to use the new tech. The result: virtual learning for students this fall that crosses continents, time zones, disciplines and operating systems. And they pulled it off in just 22 weeks.

The staff upgraded technology in classrooms to enable instructors to livestream their classes from campus if they desire. They deployed programs like Blackboard, Zoom and Slack that help people share course materials and collaborate. At the same time, they brought all the tools together with other resources for students on a new website called Experience USC.

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