School rolls out Graziadio e-Conference Rooms

e-roomsGraziadio School students have logged 220 hours in the last two weeks using the new Graziadio e-Conference Rooms tool, which was launched this spring term.

Graziadio E-Conference Rooms are real-time online meeting environments using a product called Elluminate. They are designed to enable students to collaborate with their project teams, fellow classmates, or professors while working from home, work, or while on the road. They also provide new capabilities in a traditional classroom should a professor wish to have students project their work or even bring in a guest speaker from across the globe. The result promises engaged students, enhanced learning, and improved comprehension.

“E-Conference Rooms give our students a whole other layer of flexibility and convenience regardless of where you live or work. Say you are traveling and still need to get together and collaborate with your student team, this is a great way to do it online,” said Susan Gautsch, director of e-Learning.

Every enrolled student has their own personalized e-conference room. Using their unique web address, they can access their own room anytime 24/7, and invite others to join them using that same address. Once in the e-conference room, students can talk with classmates in real time as if they were on a conference call, brainstorm on the shared whiteboard, collaborate on a single document, share files, chat, and create webinar-style presentations. All that is required is an Internet connection and a speaker/microphone headset.

Students can even invite participants outside the University network into their e-Conference room. If a student wants to plan a wedding with family members, chat with a grandparent or work on company projects with far-flung partners; well, they can do that, too.

When Professor Larry Cox invited eco-capitalist Tom Szaky to his entrepreneurship class, he had only one problem. Cox and his Saturday morning class were in Irvine, CA and the CEO of Inc magazine’s “Coolest Little Start-up in America” Terracycle Inc was in Trenton, N.J., where the company is based. Through Graziadio e-Conference Rooms (with the addition of a webcam), Szaky and Professor Cox were able to bridge both distance and time zones to conduct a lively in-class discussion.

This term, the e-Learning team rolled out  e-Conference rooms to all full-time faculty members and 1976 students after piloting the technology with students in Fully-Employed and Executive MBA programs. Some of these early testers even produced an orientation video that walks participants through some of the unique capacities available.

Currently, students have to purchase their own headset to use with their personalized e-Conference room. But the technology has proved so effective that the Graziadio School may start supplying incoming students with headsets beginning fall 2009.

Graziadio e-Conference Rooms webpage: https://wikis.pepperdine.edu/display/GSBME/e-Conference+Rooms

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