COVID-19, training, infrastructure and: stay safe.

Dear all,

If you are anything like our small Pressbooks team, you’ve been shaken up COVID-19, professionally, and personally. Things are scary, the changes are fast and drastic. We don’t know how long this is going to last or what it will turn into. 

In our own little company, things got very real very quickly. We asked everyone to work from home starting last Friday. By Monday schools were closed, and now new unimaginable measures are being announced by the hour. We’re juggling childcare, worrying about family members, and whether our seasonal cough might be something much worse.

Most of you are dealing with all the stresses and worries above, while also grappling with the implications of classroom closures and possibly the prospect of increased distance teaching. 

There are two things we wanted to let you know: 1) we’re offering more training for administrators and faculty from client institutions, who are planning to use Pressbooks for online delivery of courses, and 2) our infrastructure is ready to handle the online strain. 

Training

As you work through your own instructional continuity plans, our Pressbooks support team is happy to organize and host webinars, providing quick and simple end user training to folks in your learning communities who might be relying more on Pressbooks. We don’t want to pile more work/obligations on people, of course, but do want to help if and how we can during these extraordinary times.

The University of Wisconsin has already requested a virtual training session for tomorrow afternoon, for example. We’d be more than happy to open up these trainings to more people, to record them, or even to hold ‘open office hours’ or ‘ask me anything’ sessions if they’d help lessen your support burdens. If you have other ideas for how we can work together to help instructors and learners at your institution, please let us know (by emailing our premium support team at premiumsupport@pressbooks.com). 

Infrastructure

On the infrastructure side, we’ve made management of our infrastructure significantly more robust in the past few months. We recently swapped out the dedicated servers we used to host networks for larger, more powerful instances across the board in order to improve network capacity and performance. We have the ability to quickly scale up resources as needed to ensure that user experience on our networks remains positive. We actively monitor Apdex scores (a basic measure of how quickly a server responds to user requests) for all our servers, and take appropriate steps to ensure that server response times remain healthy to the greatest degree possible. Like you, we’re on high alert.

Stay safe everyone. 

All best,
Hugh McGuire,
Pressbooks CEO

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