The University of Fredericton (UFred), an accredited and fully-online Canadian university, has announced the successful completion of its first full year using Cisco WebEx technology to deliver all its live, online courses to students.
As Canada's first university to deliver course content and lectures exclusively through WebEx, the University held over 1000 live, faculty-led classes in the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition, all of the classes were recorded and made available to students and faculty for future use.
Using Cisco WebEx®, UFred's online students and faculty can not only interact as if they were in the same room, but also take advantage of innovative tools to share video and further assets, going beyond what is possible in the classic brick-and-mortar classroom.
"As a school that is completely online, our challenge was how to connect professors to students all over Canada, and the world. We wanted a solution that would provide students and professors with a live online classroom for lectures and discussions, where they could also share video, presentations and applications, and collaborate on documents in real-time using audio or text – or even enable breakout rooms for group sessions. With Cisco WebEx®, we get all of that and more," explains Peter Mersereau, UFred's Manager of Operations.
"Online courses have significantly broadened the scope of education. With reliable tools such as Cisco WebEx® it's never been easier to reach out to students, regardless of location, and ensure they have access to a rich and diverse number of resources to forge a successful career path," says Blake Escudier, Ph.D., professor with the Sandermoen School of Business at UFred.
"UFred realizes the world has changed and it's simply not feasible for some students to fit the traditional educational model of in-person day classes into their lives. By embracing online classes and using the most advanced technology tools to deliver them, they've made it possible for me to pursue my goals on a schedule that is right for me," adds Anthony Yu, UFred MBA Alumnus and TD Bank Branch Manager.
UFred intends to continue to collaborate with Cisco to help advance the frontier of online learning technology, and to use their technology in a way most schools can now only dream of. "Online learning technology is still in its infancy. Cisco aims to be a leader in the evolution of all elements of the virtual campus, and we want to work with them step-for-step as WebEx® and video technologies continue to evolve," explains Mersereau.
Rod Murphy, Cisco Canada's Regional Vice President, Atlantic, agrees: "We're impressed by the desire of the team at the University of Fredericton to work with us and remain at the forefront of online learning. The work being done at UFred is a perfect example of the Internet of Everything at work, using means afforded by our connected world to provide unprecedented and enriching opportunities. In this case, it's the ability for students to learn valuable skills without the constraints of distance or specific location."