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UC Berkeley Rolls Out Real-Time Virtual Student Support

The University of California-Berkeley's Geography Program is rolling out Cranium Cafe, real-time student services software that offers students a way to meet virtually with advisers, instructors and tech support. The technology was originally selected as a way to recruit and support international students.

"Initially I thought this would be a great way to solve the problem we experienced with using Skype for graduate admissions interviews for prospective PhD applicants this past January," said Academic Advisor Marjorie Ensor in a press release. "But, I quickly saw the potential and how Cranium Cafe could make advising possible for my advisees who are on study abroad or graduate students out of the country conducting fieldwork."

Besides helping students abroad, the software has been particularly useful for graduate students and student teachers, who often have trouble finding places to meet with their students in person. "A big issue for us is space," explained Ensor. "We don't have individual personal offices for all of our [grad] students ... and that can be hard if you're trying to have a one-on-one with a student and someone else is trying to work on a dissertation. Cranium Cafe is great alternative so they can still have office hours from their home."

Use of Cranium Cafe will soon expand to UC Berkeley's Earth & Planetary Science Program, the Berkeley Haas School of Business and the Resource Center for Online Learning.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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