Madison Area Technical College is using new video conferencing technology to bring students and teachers closer together, according to Campus Technology magazine.
The school has integrated the technology into 12 rooms so far, according to the publication. Six of those rooms have space for 16 students and the teacher, while another five are much smaller - seating just one or two people - and are used for meetings or advisory sessions. The final room is used by the school's computer personnel for face-to-face technical support.
So far, the technology has been very well received by both students and teachers and the rooms are in use more than 80 percent of the time during school hours, the magazine reports.
"It's like actually being there," Alli Jerger-Lopez, the technology adoption manager on the project, told the magazine. "You can see all the nuances of non-verbal behaviors. It allows the [classroom] connection to be that much stronger. Especially in the community college world, [which caters to] many displaced workers, that's so important."
The school is also using the video conferencing technology to bridge the Atlantic Ocean. One of its recent journalism courses - World Issues Journalism - was made up of 13 Wisconsin students and 12 students from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway.