Oregon University System: Video Connection in Higher Education

One of the primary goals of the Oregon state university system is to ensure that graduates are prepared to meet the demands of today’s global economy. This enormous task becomes even more complicated when coupled with a student population spread across a rural area.

To meet the challenge, the Oregon university system, which comprises eight universities, 65,000 students, and 15,000 staff and faculty, is leveraging interactive video communications technology. While distance learning is the main application of the university system’s video conferencing network, it is also used extensively for administrative purposes including meetings, administrative and professor interviews, and student job interviews.

Video in Action
“Our goal is to provide the most complete educational experience to every student through the use of video conferencing technology,” explains Lynn Weingardt, enhanced communications network engineer for the Oregon university system. “We must be able to meet the unique and diverse needs of each department. Whether they need to communicate between campuses or half-way around the world, we must ensure that the connections happen.”

The university system is currently using Polycom’s ViewStation 512 group video conferencing systems to facilitate its distance learning program and is in the process of deploying Polycom’s ViaVideo desktop video communications appliances.

”Our goal is to provide the most complete educational experience to every student through the use of video conferencing technology.“


The Polycom systems are used frequently for conventional distance learning applications like the Health Science University’s master’s nursing program. The program is based at the main campus in Portland, but students in outlying areas are able to take the classes via video.

The equipment is also leveraged to facilitate face-to-face communication in unique situations. “There have been many cases where the university needed to interview an applicant or a student needed to interview with a potential employer and travel was not feasible,” says Weingardt. “Instead of a telephone call as the only alternative, we were able to facilitate face-to-face meetings through video.”

Looking to the Future
The university system is committed to leveraging leading-edge technology to deliver the highest quality education to its student population. It is currently making plans to expand its distance learning program and is also working to involve K-12 schools and community colleges in the network.

Lynn Weingardt (lynn.weingardt@oregonstate.edu) is enhanced communications networks engineer, Oregon University System at Oregon State University.

About the Author

Lynn Weingardt is enhanced communications networks engineer, Oregon University System at Oregon State University.

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