Central Arizona College

At a Glance

  • Makes distance irrelevant for equitable academic opportunities
  • Captures and records classes for widespread video attendance
  • Streams curriculum content at any time
  • Facilitates college-wide faculty interaction

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Leveling the Education Playing Field across Arizona

Students today grew up with technology at their fingertips. Educators are faced with the challenge of communicating daily classwork and imparting knowledge to a generation accustomed to immediate access and face-to-face contact at the tap of a key.

Central Arizona College, with multiple campuses across Pinal County, has embraced this new reality with its expanding adoption of video technology.

Some educators worry the students on the far end of the video would miss out on the classroom experience. However, that is not the case. "What really works is that I can re-create the experience that students are having in the classroom," explains Keith Eubanks, professor of English at Central Arizona College. "We can connect tablets into the interactive TV system, so students actually share what’s on their screen."

As instructors at Central Arizona College bridge the gap between screen and lecture hall, they are defying distance across a very large state and creating the intimacy of the classroom using collaborative solutions. "We can maximize what we’re doing and retain more students and move them quickly through," observes Professor Eubanks. "Distance isn’t a factor when you use this kind of technology."

Diversity of curriculum is another benefit of video, explains Karen Hindhede, division chair of communications and professor of English at Central Arizona College. Tasked with creating course content, she puts interactive TV to work by building a class roster from the college’s five different campuses. "We used to have three literature classes, but we now have five or six per semester. We have enough students to populate classes that we could not have run before."

As the only institution of higher learning in Pinal County, Arizona, this provides a benefit to local high school students who have been able to attend college classes by video, serving up dual enrollment and strengthening the academic base.

To further expand the possibilities, Central Arizona College uses Polycom’s Video Content Management solutions to record, manage, and stream lectures—with a vision to do the same for sport events and graduations. Students can watch a class lecture they have missed or use it to review course materials. When teachers invite guest speakers to their classes, those lectures can be captured and played back at a later time for another group of students.

Ultimately, the final grade rests with the students who have been completing their requirements through the college’s interactive program. To provide a well-rounded experience, professors split their time between in-class attendance and interactive TV teaching. "We quickly learned how to be interactive even when our professor wasn’t standing right next to us, and we still had that connection to be able to ask her questions," says Sarah Taylor, student at Central Arizona College. "You have to be more engaged in what you are learning, which I think is amazing."

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