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Video Conferencing Makes Distance Learning a Reality for Globe University

For almost three years, Globe University (Minn.) has used video conferencing to connect classrooms, provide training to our admissions professionals, and even facilitate business meetings. Our success in implementing video conferencing has led to 18 video conferencing systems set up across 11 campuses. As a result, our operations are streamlined, our costs are better managed and our student body is better served with classes they may not otherwise have been able to take.

Affiliated with the Minnesota School of Business, Globe University has more than 28 locations in five U.S. states. Globe prepares students for careers in business, health sciences, legal sciences, information technology and creative media, with nearly 40 master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degree, diploma and certificate programs.

Video conferencing at Globe began with internal admissions representative training. Rapidly increasing enrollment required us to improve training for new admissions professionals. We saw video conferencing technology from Austin, TX-based LifeSize, a division of Logitech, as a rich medium to link admissions departments across campuses, to discuss enrollment and registration practices, administer student interviews, and to train new representatives.

All our admissions representatives go through a rigorous three-week training process to better serve students. Previously, we flew out-of-state employees to Minnesota for this intensive training. That was both expensive and an inconvenience to the admissions personnel, taking them away from their offices and their families just at the beginning of their time with us. Video conferencing enabled training from regional locations, which reduced out-of-office time for representatives.

In the training process, admissions personnel give a mock presentation to educate students about the school. The presentation is recorded for subsequent playback and critique using the LifeSize Video Center. Hiring managers get a live stream of these sessions, which allows the manager to go to training with the new hire to determine that person’s strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, video conferencing allows instructors to be able to “read” the classroom and assist students in greater detail than they might in an audio-only conference setting.

With this success in admissions, Globe began to use video conferencing in our nursing program. Video endpoints record student performance in simulation labs. Training dummies are used in recorded simulations, and the nursing students’ performance is reviewed and analyzed. This is a growing trend in nursing schools across the country that enables students to gain hands-on experience with life-like patients—without real-life consequences.

Before video conferencing, student teams would take turns in a small simulation lab, evaluating the “patient” with their instructor. With recorded video conferencing capability, students and professors can evaluate their performance later in the classroom. There is a benefit to having students be able to view their own performance in the simulation setting, and we’ve found critiques of their performance are better received by the students in that context.

That continued success paved the way for Globe’s “Connected Classroom” initiative, starting in our Rochester, Minn. and Sioux Falls, S.D. campuses. By connecting classrooms, we have improved education opportunities to students, allowing classes to be offered at campuses where low enrollment might otherwise have prevented them. Video conferencing enables interaction with the students—an important part of the education process—and allows students to participate even when their own class size might otherwise have been too small.

Our “Connected Classroom” pilot included a criminal justice class with a crime scene investigation component. As an exercise in observation, the instructor typically has someone enter the classroom to deliver a note and leave. Later, the instructor quizzes students on the physical description of that person. Classroom instructors were concerned that students at the other end of the video feed might not be able to see well enough to answer those questions. High definition video dispelled that concern and the instructors were quickly convinced of the value of this instructional tool.

Six Globe campus locations can now participate in the Connected Classroom project, up from only two campuses previously. This coming quarter, new technology will allow additional campuses to be added, making the learning experience richer for more students at once.

Most higher educational professionals see the demand for distance-learning classes continuing to swell. With video conferencing, Globe is able to meet that demand today. Continuing advances in the technology are allowing us to build on the promise of distance learning in ways we had not previously considered.


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