Videoconferencing | News

Auburn Adds Videoconferencing To Meet Enrollment Demand, Provide Real-World Experience

Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy has deployed a suite of video collaboration tools in an effort to meet increased enrollment demands and provide advanced students with real-world experience.

The Alabama school, which serves students in Auburn, Mobile, and satellite campuses in Birmingham, Hunstvilee, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Columbus, GA, among others, has seen increased interest in its programs "due to more opportunities in the industry," according to a release, but "regulations dictate teaching must be conducted in a live and synchronous environment."

The university chose to deploy Polycom's RealPresence Collaboration Server 2000, CMA 5000, RealPresence Desktop software, and RealPresence Media Manager.

"We capture lectures and meetings and we can generate training videos," said Barry McConatha, manager of information and instructional technology at the Harrison School of Pharmacy, in a prepared statement. "Anyone can make a recording from one of our 147 video enabled rooms across the main and satellite campuses, and it's all centralized, which is a huge value-add to us."

The new tools allow professors to create lessons from their desktops, offer a contingency plan for students unable to travel to campus for weather, provide an opportunity for students to review lectures at their own pace, and allows continuing education students to attend lectures virtually.

The school is also using the new tools to give advanced students real-world experience.

"The Auburn TelePharmacy initiative allows fourth-year candidates to provide point-of-care services to people who might not ordinarily be in reach of a pharmacist," according to a news release. "Symptoms, vital signs, and advice can all be transmitted from patient to provider on mobile devices such as iPads and tablets, using Polycom RealPresence Mobile, or on a laptop with Polycom RealPresence Desktop. Students can also use a room-based unit if the site has one. This mobility allows student pharmacists on rotations to visit with patients in underserved areas, and then initiate a live conversation with instructors and practicing faculty, facilitating the connection from patient to provider and improving healthcare for the people of Alabama."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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