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Champlain College Using InSpace Collaboration Platform to Enhance Online Learning Experiences

Vermont's Champlain College is expanding the use of InSpace, a video collaboration tool, in its online learning division. Students studying at Champlain College Online (CCO) will be able to engage with one another as well as with academic advisers in the platform's fully virtual environment, much like they would in physical spaces.

Conceived by Champlain data science and machine learning professor Narine Hall and spun off into a private company, InSpace provides a virtual environment in which each participant is represented by a video circle. Users can click and drag their video circle to move around the space, join breakout rooms, and converse with others. CCO has been using the platform since fall 2020 for faculty and student communication, peer collaboration and networking, and now plans to roll out the technology across all asynchronous courses. The platform will essentially serve as a full virtual campus, allowing online students to "experience all aspects of the Burlington, Vermont campus including a variety of campus buildings with event live-streaming, library spaces, staff and databases, orientations, panel discussions, wellness events, and more," according to a news announcement.

"We received feedback from our students that their sense of community and having a connection to the physical campus is of the utmost importance to them," said Johnna Herrick-Phelps, vice president of online learning at Champlain College Online, in a statement. "Using InSpace, students are able to communicate in new dynamic ways, create and foster collaboration, and a sense of community and connection to the brick-and-mortar college."

"When we started InSpace two years ago, our mission was to take the technology out of the way and let instructors and students connect and learn virtually," added Hall, who also serves as CEO and co-founder of InSpace. "The most innovative and forward-thinking institutions are seeking differentiated and effective video collaboration and learning partners like InSpace as a competitive advantage for their online courses."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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