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Four Virginia Universities Give Telepresence an A+

Educators have put telepresence to the test and it’s passed with honors.

In 2011, four Virginia universities joined together with one objective–to transform higher education.

The partnership, dubbed 4-VA, includes members from George Mason University, James Madison University, University of Virginia and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The 4-VA’s goals are admirable and ambitious: To make higher education more affordable, expand the number of degrees awarded in the state and strengthen member institutions–individually and collectively.

Almost a year after inception, the consortium has made serious headway on its  mission to revolutionize Virginia’s higher education system through collaboration technologies. This is a great video on the program:

How’d they do it’? The crux of its success was the ability to leverage resources across all four campuses. With Cisco TelePresence, members can easily share instructional and academic resources via high-definition, real-time video that creates a life-like setting. Read More »

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Collaborative Technologies: A Key Tech Initiative during Obama’s Second Term

As President Barack Obama preps for his second term in office, we’re look out for what technology trends will matter most for government agencies and video technology has made the list.

Over the next four years we expect to see collaborative technologies, like Cisco TelePresence, transform the federal workplace. As businesses continue to adopt video technology and social platforms as a way to encourage efficiency and collaboration, the public sector will follow suit.

For more federal IT trends that we think will matter most during Obama’s second term, take a look at our very own Kerry Best’s post “With Second Term Ahead – What Tech Initiatives Matter Most for Government Agencies in 2013”.

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With Second Term Ahead – What Tech Initiatives Matter Most for Government Agencies in 2013

President Barack Obama has been reelected as the 44th president of the United States. And while he may still be holding on to his treasured Blackberry, most of us are more interested in what technology trends he and his administration will pursue to make public sector agencies smarter, faster and more efficient.

Throughout Obama’s first term he made significant headway with data center consolidation, cloud computing, information transparency and cybersecurity, and it seems like he’ll be keeping tech initiatives on his agenda.

To solidify his commitment to furthering technology, Obama made mention of it in his victory speech:

“But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future; we want our kids to grow up in a country where they access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation. With all the new jobs and new businesses that follow.”

So looking at Obama’s track record and guarantees, what should the public sector have its eyes on? Take a look at the four technology trends identified by many as likely second-term priorities: Read More »

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Community Colleges Leverage Collaboration to Increase Student Access

We’re seeing more and more how critical community colleges are to the success of so many Americans, young and old:  They’re providing a path back to work for the unemployed and offering the targeted training needed to succeed in specialized jobs—a benefit the Obama administration seeks to further with its Community College to Career initiative.

In a time of deeper and deeper cuts to education budgets, keeping community colleges afloat can prove challenging, but it’s a problem for which technology can provide one possible solution. The fiscal crisis has colleges experimenting with collaborative and virtual efforts to increase access to courses, as online education and mobile learning not only expands community colleges’ reaches, but also saves them money. Through one-time investments in equipment like telepresence endpoints, community colleges can set themselves up to offer increasingly desirable distance learning options for years to come. And, by embracing popular trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), community colleges can also configure their networks to support mass wireless connectivity and virtual access, mobilizing their academic offerings and making them more attractive to potential students.

Read More »

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Technical College System of Georgia Connects Students Across State

Always interested in the unique ways telepresence is being used in education, I recently heard about one of Georgia’s technical colleges with six campus locations using telepresence in a unique way. With video communication, staff advisors and registration personnel work from one main location and use video to connect to students across the state to assist them with the often stressful registration process.

The college is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), which is the agency responsible for Georgia’s technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and many economic and workforce development initiatives. As recently published in an interesting case study, the TCSG works to unify the education system across 25 technical colleges in Georgia, representing 100 campus locations and more than 170,000 students and 11,000 employees. The TCSG team wanted to provide a technology solution to streamline internal communications between administrative staff at each college. Its goal was to migrate campus infrastructure from the older Centrex architecture to a next-generation technology model, which would help enable the efficient provisioning of student and administrative services and increase opportunities for collaboration between campuses and colleges. Read More »

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