As the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the nation’s second-largest city, Abu Dhabi is a major cultural center in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. A group of distinguished citizens decided that in order for Abu Dhabi to be an intellectual powerhouse as well as an economic one, the emirate needed a top-rate university; and so, in 2003, Abu Dhabi University opened its doors to its first 1,000 students. The institution’s aim is to provide excellent education while still honoring Arab tradition, so classes at its campuses in both Abu Dhabi proper and nearby Al Ain are separated by gender.
This presented a logistical issue, in that professors had to teach one class of men and another of women at the Abu Dhabi campus, travel an hour and a half east to the Al Ain campus, and teach another class of men and another of women, for a total of four separate classes. University administrators were desperate for a way to cut down on the workload for their educators while still honoring the Arab custom, so they decided to give video conferencing a shot.
LifeSize happened to be hosting a demonstration in Abu Dhabi, and the IT team at ADU was overjoyed when they saw the video conferencing solution in action. “LifeSize really impressed us with the very first demonstration,” said Shabeer Mangattuparambil, ADU’s acting IT head and system administrator. “We hadn’t heard of LifeSize before the event, but we knew immediately that its technology was the solution to our problems. It worked superbly well.”
After an on-site demonstration and the system’s competitive price point sealed the deal, LifeSize began implementing endpoints on both of ADU’s campuses – and both faculty and administration are delighted with the results. LifeSize helps bridge both the gender gap and the distance gap the university was experiencing, and is now used in practically every discipline offered at ADU, from physics to engineering to business and beyond.
Abu Dhabi University is now thinking of expanding the use of video conferencing to the administrative side of its operations as well. Currently, administrators have to travel the hour and a half between the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses to conduct meetings and training sessions. But with the adoption of LifeSize video technology, they’ll be able to save the time and money associated with constant travel.
“[LifeSize] has changed the way we provide educational experiences to our students, men and women alike, and brought both of our campuses together in a strong, cohesive way,” Mangattuparambil concluded. “We only wish we had found LifeSize sooner.”
– Dan Lothringer
Dan is a contributing writer for VideoConferencingSpot.com.