In 2017, Seminole State College (SSC) began searching for a videoconferencing solution that would improve their distance learning programs and increase their outreach to area high schools. Distance learning provides high schools students with the opportunity to earn college credit by participating in concurrent enrollment programs without the need to travel to SSC. This is a valuable resource for students who hope to achieve college and career readiness goals while still in high school. Despite the many advantages of distance learning, videoconferencing equipment is expensive to maintain and requires significant IT support. In order to modernize their course offerings, SSC partnered with OneNet to meet the following needs:
- Reduce costs associated with equipment maintenance and IT support
- Increase student engagement
- Add features to modernize course offerings
- Provide reliable and consistent educational interactions
In 2017, OneNet negotiated a contract with Zoom, a cloud-based videoconferencing software that offers a scalable and cost-effective alternative to traditional videoconferencing services. OneNet and SSC developed a plan to implement Zoom to better connect teachers and students. Using this technology, SSC is able to maximize use of existing equipment and offer courses to students through almost any internet connection.
- Offer cost-effective managed contract pricing
- Ensure quick and flexible deployment through cloud service
- Improve student engagement through a camera for each student
- Provide low-cost webcams to schools that lack proper equipment
- Implement features, such as automatic transcription of recordings, that allow teachers to leverage new technology
- OneNet staff travelled to SSC and area high schools several times to appraise hardware and make recommendations.
- OneNet staff trained teachers and students on how to operate and manage Zoom software.
- SSC can now offer courses to schools that may not have enough students for a traditional distance learning course or an on-site instructor.
- SSC plans to increase program size next semester from two sections to 10 sections, reaching a greater number of students.
By Meagan Leber, Strategic Planning and Communications Intern Spring 2018.