TechRepublic's Conner Forrest interviewed Mark Van Pelt, the CIO of Mohave Community College, about how moving to a cloud-based video conferencing system helped the rural college offload some of its bandwidth and improved the experience for students. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Mark Van Pelt: For us, we have a couple of challenges. One is we're a small county. The infrastructure really isn't there for high speed data. The issue that that brought up for us is at one point we had an internally hosted chat system, a video teleconference system as part of our student information system, and what we were finding is between campuses or when students were coming in off campus, we simply didn't have the bandwidth to run that. We would start to get lag and stutter, and the next thing you know we have students calling to complain, like "hey, I couldn't have a meeting with my professor."
So, one of the things that we have to do I think, as a small college, is selectively look at how are we going to leverage cloud for our community. So in our case, what we did was we leveraged that to an off-site provider. It's cloud based, it's fully encrypted, and I don't have to host the bandwidth for that, which was a huge relief for us. What we actually did was improve service.
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Most of the response, most of the feedback we've gotten from students has been very, very positive. Whereas some of our faculty were almost never holding video teleconferences with students, now we see lots of them happily doing that, and some of them are actually building that in as part of what they do with students. We're gonna have meetings once a week as a class online. So for us, a cloud service worked really well and brought a better experience to our students.
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Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.