Before I get into my post, let me offer Avaya’s heartfelt empathy and concern to the millions so directly affected by the devastation in Japan. The pictures and videos that have emerged over the last few days from the destruction and tsunami have been scary and captivating. Personally, they have brought back a flood of memories from the 2004 Asian tsunami, which I shared with this blog audience in an earlier post, Following up: the Case for Emergency Notification and the Asian Tsunami.
Our hearts go out to the Japanese as they battle so many difficult challenges and we mourn the many whom lost their lives and loved ones in this terrible disaster.
Innovation in action
Pivoting to what I wanted to write on today, you probably know by now my love affair with web.alive, written about here and here. Further in that vein I wanted to share an innovative application of web.alive in the education sector, by Carroll University in Wisconsin, via a case study that is up on avaya’s website.
In Summer 2010, Carroll University inaugurated a pilot program with Avaya web.alive, originally for three important groups/functions within the University: 1) The Library Services’ Learning Commons, which provides tutoring, student project collaboration, and other in-depth learning opportunities; 2) Recruitment programs and inter-university collaborations for International Studies; and 3) The Faculty Advising group.
Usage has expanded to adjunct faculty training and is being considered for Career Services, and other functions. The application is currently being deployed for all staff and faculty computers. The IT team reports that training on the system is quick and easy.
I encourage folks to check out the case study in full and don’t want to steal too much of its thunder. However, I do want to highlight illuminating comments from John Arechavala, Director, IT Infrastructure Services. John touches on the value that this web.alive deployment has realized for his organization as well as touches on the specific green savings that Carroll U has seen.
“Whether it’s in education, business, health care or any other field, the cost of doing business via traditional means will not get any cheaper. At Carroll University, we have found that Avaya web.alive creates exceptional value to enhance communications and collaboration, expand access, and provide enormous ‘green’ savings for many different functions…We have local ‘green’ savings as more students–particularly those off campus–can receive tutoring and faculty coaching via web.alive. There will be reductions in the carbon footprint, in time, travel costs, and potentially facility expenses as offices become more virtual in nature.”
Having spent my fair share of time in academic classrooms, on both ends of the teacher/student dynamic, including Teach for America, I am a big proponent of leveraging technology in the education sector. Let me touch on two examples. First, as a 6th grade teacher about 10 years ago, it was a continually battle to get kids engaged, and the world ahs just gotten nosier in the last decade. I found that students were most excited to learn and explore in the digital realm, when we got on the net for guided explorations.
Then, as a grad student at Duke I was a big proponent of using technology to augment my classroom experience. One interesting dynamic in my leveraging of technology was the varying approaches that professors took to sharing the classroom with technology, from embracing to prohibiting. I recall one class when the professor was delving into a specific example of international economic theory, in South America I believe. It was a bit arcane and I was able to dial up background info almost instantly to get context.
Neither of my examples are directly related to what Carroll is doing via web.alive. In fact my experiences lag far behind what is possible in that collaborative environment, they were so many years ago, after all. The last ten years have seen such a proliferation and expansion of technology, and it is great to see the education space, where so many of the knowledge workers of tomorrow get needed skills and expertise, taking proactive steps to expose its community to emerging technologies.
Lastly, a hearty welcome to the newest blogger on the Connected Blog, Jay Barta. Jay is a long time colleague; it is great to have his perspective from the PR world incorporated into our community.