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.

The immersive experience was called a “transformative technology” by 4-VA members, and rightfully so!

With Cisco TelePresence the 4-VA has transformed Virginia’s higher education. Through video members have accelerated research partnerships, shared educational infrastructure and been able to tap into unique expertise no matter the location of experts. Now, students meet via telepresence for advanced Chinese and Chinese business language classes, showing that while they may be physically dispersed they can still get the same experience.

Happy with the progress and the telepresence technology, the 4-VA plans to expand its use. They’re even designing a distance education program aimed at community college graduates in rural areas that will focus on technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

In this digital age, the use of collaborative technologies like telepresence will become more and more important for the delivery of higher education.

To hear more about how Cisco TelePresence helped the 4-VA leverage resources to improve education, check out the video

UPDATE: For an even more in-depth look, check out the technical video on the 4-VA project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N96QU3O2rgM


Kerry Best

Marketing Manager

Public Sector Marketing