Virtual Classrooms Expanding Higher Education’s Reach

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For college students, taking virtual classes opens the door to opportunities of learning whenever and wherever they can. Online education has even helped create big innovations in collaboration at universities. Social interaction, however, has always been a concern. Many schools have used online tools to connect with experts around the world. Since 2010, Duke University used Cisco TelePresence to allow the School of Business to collaborate with experts. Medical schools, like the Duke Eye Center, have started using telepresence tools as a means of a full video conferencing system. Telepresence has sparked great innovations in schools, from robotic telepresence to international online classes.

San Jose State University has used telepresence to create virtual classes and bring “experts to enrich learning, extended the reach of its programs and helped traveling faculty stay connected,” a case study reports. The School of Journalism and Mass Communication has the ability to pitch ideas to the advertising agencies across the globe that they have connected with. The collaboration tools allow students access into the real world. The tools also allow for experts at San Jose State University to expand their reach to other countries. The Social Work Education Enhancement Program allows two-way communication to improve schooling in Vietnam.

Students have been able to attend classes through video conferencing, but some universities are taking this one step further. Robotic telepresence allows remote students to truly have a seat at the table, and enhance remote learners’ education experience in very important ways. While closing the distance in the social experience is useful, it has been found just as useful for more hands-on majors. Online students seeking a Master of Science in Nursing at Duke can use robotics telepresence to get the experience they need.


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