Enhancing Distance Learning with Video at Coastal Bend College
Coastal Bend College (CBC), originally named Bee County Junior College in 1967, was founded with a mission to give students in rural parts of Texas access to a life-changing college education. A name change and fifty years later, Coastal Bend has now become a leading community college with four campuses across southeast Texas, each committed to delivering superb education and life-enriching opportunities to the students and communities it serves.
As an institution focused on extending learning opportunities to students in rural areas of Texas, the need for a robust solution to virtually connect students to teachers was crucial. Convincing the students was the easy part — access to video conferencing meant they could attend classes from the comfort of their own homes and also choose from a larger pool of available courses.
The main challenge was convincing the education board to fund the program and assuring educators and faculty members that a video solution would support and even enhance their curricula. In order to do that, the school’s IT team started to hunt for a solution that was immersive, high quality, built on a robust service with
a long life span, flexible enough to easily incorporate a range of teaching styles and intuitive for both students and faculty.
“We serve 13 rural counties, and by video-enabling our campuses we’re able to fulfill our class registration requirements and offer more opportunities for students to take the courses they need.”
— Amador Ramirez, IT Director at Coastal Bend College
Coastal Bend College was initially skeptical about implementing Lifesize because it seemed like a tool meant for only conference rooms. After going through a demo, it became clear that Lifesize was exactly what Coastal Bend needed — an easily deployable solution that anyone could learn and become an expert in, with superior video and audio quality for a seamless distance-learning experience.
“One of our instructors learned the real value of video after being unable to physically commute to her class one day. Instead of cancelling, she connected to her classroom via Lifesize and was still able to teach her class. Now she’s one of our most advanced virtual instructors — because she got to experience firsthand how video can really change the way you conduct classes for the better.”
Coastal Bend is now equipped with a total of 19 Lifesize video systems across their four campuses and conduct over 130,000 minutes of video lectures per month!
With a high-quality video conferencing solution like Lifesize, scheduling, attending and teaching classes has never been easier. In fact, the organization is such a huge advocate of Lifesize that they’ve coined “Lifesize-ing” as a verb and buzzword across their campuses. Coastal Bend College averages about 270 calls a month, with their most-used feature being recording and sharing that allows them to host and share recordings for on-demand viewing.
“There’s always talk every single day about how we can incorporate more video in more of our classrooms. The video usage is constantly growing and everybody wants to be a part of it.”
From cutting travel costs to interviewing and onboarding new faculty members, and even holding staff meetings and “virtual hours” for extra tutoring opportunities, Lifesize has changed the way Coastal Bend internally communicates and supports distance-learning programs for the better.
“This is the way of the future, especially when it comes to teaching in rural locations. Video conferencing is crucial, and it’s important that the teachers that serve these areas understand and are open to changing up their curriculum to best support the needs of their students. Whether they’re in the class or on the screen, everyone deserves the best education they can get.”