Putting faces to far off voices

11 DECEMBER 2002

The tyranny of distance is under assault by Charles Sturt University, with state-of-the-art conferencing software and equipment being installed throughout the multi campus institution.

The tyranny of distance is under assault by Charles Sturt University, with state-of-the-art conferencing software and equipment being installed throughout the multi campus institution.

With four campuses located across central and southern NSW – at Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga – the use of advanced telecommunications systems will have important consequences for teaching, learning, research and administration carried out by CSU.

“Improved access is the key to this new system,” said CSU project manager, Phil Sefton. 

“It allows online teaching and learning to be carried out anywhere in the University, as long as the relevant equipment can be plugged into a data point. It is also cheaper and much easier to use and works seamlessly with CSU’s existing computer systems.” 

This system, which incorporates camera and audio communications with computer files being shared in “real time” by users, has been trialled by the University’s administration since August this year.  It has also been used in online meetings with other Australian universities and CSIRO.

Teaching trials will start early in 2003, using existing video and computer equipment at the University, with Dubbo students receiving lectures and tuition from academic staff at their desks 200 kilometres away in Bathurst.

According to CSU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor David Battersby, the system offers an innovative alternative to face-to-face teaching, particularly where students can actively interact with their lecturers and tutors.

“The system will enrich our students’ educational experience while increasing contact with top academic minds, no matter where they are in the University,” Professor Battersby said. “It will greatly enhance teaching-learning flexibility between our campuses and our off campus students scattered throughout Australia and overseas.”

CSU’s existing video conferencing network is due to be replaced by the new system at the end of 2003.

Leading conferencing solutions company eVideo Communications supplied the Polycom Viewstation videoconferencing systems and the Via multipoint conferencing unit from Radvision.

eVideo Communications Sales Director Tom Morgan said he the system melded well with the existing and extensive CSU technology network.

“With this videoconferencing technology, CSU will greatly improve communications via multipoint video meetings for online teaching and learning, while encouraging better personal relationships between students and their lecturers,” Mr Morgan said.

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Albury-Wodonga Charles Sturt University Teaching and Education