University of South Carolina

Changing global learning through telepresence

Contact: Peggy Binette 803-777-5400

The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina successfully conducted its first custom executive education program delivered by telepresence, connecting Fiberweb manufacturing executives in Frankfurt, Germany and Columbia, S.C. in early June.

Using Cisco technology, Dr. Martin Roth, an international business professor at the Moore School, taught a two-day program that enabled the cross-Atlantic teams of executives to collaborate face-to-face on marketing and strategy projects, unencumbered by time or travel.

With sessions simultaneously hosted in the Moore School’s Global Learning TelePresence rooms and in a Marriott hotel in Frankfurt, the technology, which incorporates large, high-definition panels with video and audio, created a single learning space.

“The technology is easy to use and very comfortable,” Roth said. “Having that ‘natural’ feeling in an education setting is vital. There was no difference between interacting with the group in Columbia or in Germany. Participants seamlessly engaged with me and each other in real time.”

The program combined synchronous (same-time event) and asynchronous (online materials and resources) learning. A key advantage was immediacy. Participants were able share what they were learning with others in their organization and then provide that feedback to their counterparts in the other country.

“Telepresence is an excellent tool to overcome long-distance and jetlag issues among team members who need to get together for training, workshop and conference/meeting purposes,” said Hans Jörg Oberberg, president of Fiberweb Europe Industrial. “Fiberweb has launched cross-Atlantic activities that require virtual teams and multiple meetings to cover all aspects and to get things done.”

Jeffrey Parsons, a senior director of human resources for Fiberweb, called the program a success.

“The course materials were on target; the delivery was superb, and the telepresence instructional technology kept participants refreshed, energized and engaged,” Parsons said.

A leader in international business, the Moore School is in the vanguard of business schools working with Cisco and Polycom to use telepresence technology and developing programs and new approaches for global learning.

“This is an important step in creating a truly global, interactive classroom,” said Ray Smith, the Moore School’s chief learning officer and architect of the school’s telepresence and learning models. “Our new Global Learning TelePresence environment is up and running and expanding in exciting ways. This first program was judged a success by our multinational client, their participating managers and our faculty.”

Smith said the Moore School will expand delivery of its Professional MBA program using telepresence in early September at sites throughout South Carolina and neighboring Charlotte, N.C. The school already has used the technology to deliver some MBA and undergraduate classes. In addition to offering more executive education programs similar to the one for Fiberweb, Moore School plans call for an expanded use of telepresence with conferences and undergraduate education.

“Our next step is to further develop our learning network linked via telepresence across the state and with our partners across the world,” Smith said.

Global Learning TelePresence at the Moore School comprises four classrooms with an additional five classrooms that will be operational in September.

“We’re bringing South Carolina into the world and the world into South Carolina,” Smith said.

Visit the website for more information about telepresence and executive education at the Moore School.


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Posted: 08/09/11 @ 7:00 PM | Updated: 10/13/11 @ 1:39 PM | Permalink