Distance Learning

Nicolet College Adopts Telepresence Tech for Distance Learners

Wisconsin's Nicolet College has adopted telepresence at three of its campuses in an effort to better support distance learning students.

Funded through a $415,000 grant from the United States Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, the technology has been installed at the school's Rhinelander, Minocqua and Tomahawk campuses. At Rhinelander, the telepresence classroom "is outfitted with five displays, including three 65-inch, high-definition screens that sit side-by-side," according to a news release. "In front of the displays is a specially-designed table for students and instructor. Each site has an advanced camera system along with theater-quality audio equipment."

Users appearing on the screens are presented at near life size and at eye level.

"The experience is amazing," said Chuck Komp, dean of business and instructional effectiveness, in a prepared statement. "You feel like you are sitting in the same room with people who are actually many miles away. This will definitely cut down on travel time for many students and make it much more convenient for them to earn a college education."

Nicolet plans to offer fast track technical business degrees in supervision, sales and marketing, bookkeeping and receptionist. "Numerous general education classes that are required for other college credentials will also be offered over the new technology," according to a news release. "These classes will include Oral and Interpersonal Communication, English Composition I, Written Communication, Principles of Microeconomics, Introductory Reading Study, Principles of College Math and Introduction to Literature."

Komp added that the technology will often be in use for eight to 12 hours a day.

Part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, Nicolet College serves approximately 1,900 students and offers about 70 associate degrees, certificates, diplomas and apprenticeship programs. More information about Nicolet college is available at nicoletcollege.edu.

About the Author

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

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