Auburn University

At a Glance

  • Links students and faculty through distance learning
  • Professors can customize lectures for video sharing
  • Provides accreditation opportunities in continuing education

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Auburn Trains Future Doctors of Pharmacy Through Video Collaboration

As America's healthcare landscape transforms, the need for more doctors is increasing. Auburn University in Alabama is home to the highly respected Harrison School of Pharmacy. With satellite campuses spread out across the state, and "live" synchronous class instruction required for accreditation to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, the school required a solution to close the literal distance separating students from faculty.

Previously, Auburn faculty were commuting hundreds of miles to conduct classes, as well as lead the clinical training needed to obtain a degree. Polycom's RealPresence collaboration and content management solutions helped centralize the infrastructure on the main campus, allowing professors to record and customize their content and make it available to the student body at all the locations, as well as through mobile devices. Both fulltime students and participants in continuing education were able to glean the benefits.

Polycom's video capture capabilities were the gamechanger, explains Barry McConatha, Manager of Information and Instructional Technology at Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy. "Anyone can make a recording from one of our 147 video-enabled locations. Professors can create and record lectures directly from their desktop, and students can access videos as a contingency plan for missed materials. It is also a valuable learning tool for students who attend Auburn with English as a Second Language, allowing them to study and review lectures at their own pace."

Rural Communities Benefit from Student-Faculty Collaboration

As a growing number of pharmacy students reached their fourth year of study, demand increased for clinical experience to obtain their degree. Auburn launched a TelePharmacy initiative that served the dual purpose of providing valuable hands-on opportunities for the Doctor of Pharmacy candidates, and point-of-care services to people not in easy reach of a pharmacist. Thanks to Polycom's RealPresence Mobile capabilities, students can use iPads and tablets to convey vital signs and symptoms, and consult with instructors "live" to dispense advice to patients. An underserved community became the recipient of much-needed healthcare, and Auburn's commitment to the expert training of its fourth year students was realized.

"Video conferencing technology is here today and mobile devices have caught up with the concepts. The dream of helping people who just can’t make it to the doctor has become a reality," explained McConatha.

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