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Community Colleges Leverage Collaboration to Increase Student Access

November 6, 2012 at 8:00 am PST

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.

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Technical College System of Georgia Connects Students Across State

November 1, 2012 at 7:12 am PST

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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Connected Justice: It’s much more than simply cutting costs

October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am PST

As collaboration technologies become more pervasive in our daily lives, we increasingly hear about video and other communications taking students on virtual fieldtrips, connecting colleagues across the globe and enabling better access to healthcare for rural and under-served communities.

You may have also noticed a dramatic increase in the use of video and collaboration in the Connected Justice areas -- courts, law enforcement and corrections. Dallas County, Texas, for example, implemented videoconferencing, or telepresence, a number of years ago and immediately realized multiple benefits from reducing detainee transport to enabling faster case disposal. One application in particular has shown dramatic impact within court systems -- remote interpretation. The video below is a great overview of how remote interpretation works and its benefits.

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Olympians: Connecting Students with Classroom Champions

July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm PST

Ah, the excitement and power of the Olympic Games – and what an inspiration it is to young athletes and students! Watching the coverage of the lead-up to London 2012, I can’t help but contemplate the potential impact of collaborative technology on not only the games themselves, but those participating in and watching the games.

For those who know me, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a big wrestling fan. My husband is an accomplished wrestler and head high school wrestling coach here in Allen, TX, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact the sport has had on the lives of young men and women. Unfortunately, in the U.S., wrestling is somewhat of a second tier sport in the mainstream sports world. So, when the Olympics come around, excitement builds for wrestling fans as we prepare to watch the wrestlers we have admired for so many years get a spotlight on the global Olympic stage.

With my experience in the videoconferencing industry and my underlying passion for the sport of wrestling, I was especially intrigued last year when I heard about the organization called Classroom Champions. They connect students in high-need schools with top performing athletes in order to motivate them to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. Read More »

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Southern Colorado University Extends Courses to Rural Areas, Keeps Nurses Local

July 19, 2012 at 4:00 am PST

With growing concern about the education systems in rural areas, rural schools have recently captured the attention of the federal government, which has redoubled its efforts to improve education in these areas. Fortunately, we’ve seen a number of efforts being made across the country to look for ways to address this issue. One of my favorite examples right now is the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

While the university provides other education programs, its main focus is the nursing program, which was suffering from the lack of geographical reach of UCCS’ courses. UCCS recognized the potential to harness collaboration tools to build out its distance education program, reach more nursing students and keep rural nursing students working in their local communities. Read More »

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