On July 6, 2020, The Empower Interns COVID-19 Innovation Challenge kicked off. Over the course of seven weeks, nearly 500 interns across Rhode Island joined forces within Skills Village – a custom, virtual ecosystem that was powered by Microsoft Teams.
This article is just one part of a larger case study surrounding one of the largest internship programs in Rhode Island’s history. Envision Technology Advisors partnered with Skills for Rhode Island’s Future to conceive, architect, and deploy the technical solutions that supported this program. To learn more, visit www.envisionsuccess.net/empowerinterns.
Although Teams was a new technology for many of the interns, the application’s rapid adoption at the beginning of the program was truly astonishing. The volume of engagement from Day 1 of the program was a testament to the intuitive nature of the platform and the customizations that we were able to add to the deployment. Almost immediately, and with just some basic training, the students were working with one another in dynamic ways, quickly taking to Teams’ chat, mention, reaction, audio, video, and screensharing capabilities. Let's take a closer look.
The Data: Staggering Levels of Engagement
The data depicted in the graphics above is just from just the first two weeks of the program! Teams proved to have an incredibly low barrier to entry for the interns as they quickly embraced the application and its many features and integrations.
Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SFRI), the nonprofit hosting this internship program, needed a way to track the engagement levels of the students across the board – that’s where the Microsoft Teams Admin Center came in.
The Admin Center gave SFRI an easy way to access real-time, granular data on the student’s engagement levels. The ability to track these metrics were critical to SFRI in assessing the success of the program early-on. Were students interacting with one another via chat and video calls within their teams? How were they collaborating on their initial tasks and projects? What advanced functions of Teams were they leveraging? The Teams Admin Center supplied SFRI with tremendous insight into how, specifically, the students were working within the Skills Village deployment.
The ability to access these engagement statistics in real time was also critical to SFRI because of the short timeline of the program. Skills Village was built in just four weeks, and the entire internship program lasted for only seven weeks. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of the project, SFRI needed to immediately identify and solve for any process or technical issues that arose during the seven-week time frame. Even a few days of delay could impair the program’s effectiveness and the overall experience it delivered to students. With access to real time statistics, SFRI could pinpoint any concerns and work with Envision’s engineers right away to develop solutions to further engage the students.
Leveraging Statistics for Prevention
The data above proves the incredible collaboration and forward-thinking action the students displayed during the first two weeks of the program – and continued to display throughout the full seven weeks. By leveraging the power of real time statistics generated within the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, Skills for Rhode Island’s future was able to keep a close eye on the performance of the students. In turn, this keen observation enabled SFRI to work with Envision to identify, fix, and prevent snags in the program before they could become larger holes in the fabric of the internship.