For many people, learning is best done in the classroom. But what if, either because of illness or geography, a student can’t be in the classroom? The next best thing is creating a connected learning environment. At Australia’s Open Access College (OAC) in Adelaide and Port Augusta, more than 200 instructors are leading lessons to classrooms of students who aren’t physically there. And Cisco is making that experience better.

Originally the OAC was using audio conferencing to deliver lessons to their students. This proved to be both too expensive—the annual phone bill was over $1.2M USD ($1.5M AUD)—and the interaction was only one-way. The Australian government mandated that the OAC cut their spending by at a third.

Enter Cisco. With a new infrastructure made up of Cisco Aironet 2700 Series Access Points, Cisco 5520 Wireless Controllers and Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches, the OAC had the tools in place to introduce the Cisco WebEx Training Center. Cisco WebEx isn’t anywhere close to a traditional, static audio conference where one person speaks and the other listens. Those sorts of interactions are boring at best and completely ineffectual.

With Cisco WebEx, the experience is more hand’s on and interactive as teachers and students are able to share resources, including visual materials. Participants are able to see the other’s desk tops and can use the white board function to make sure that students are understanding the material properly.

The best part of the new Cisco solution is the cost savings, the OAC more than met the government’s demand of slashing their budget by 33 percent. In fact, with one annual Cisco WebEx subscription, the school cut its phone bill by over 96 percent per year.

It’s not just the big money savings that’s nice, with the Cisco wireless solutions in place, educators are able to move freely about the campus knowing that they have a reliable connection. They are able to offer a more enriched educational experience knowing that they aren’t tied to one singular location.

For more on how the OAC, please read the entire case study here.


Bill Rubino

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Networking and Cloud Marketing