by Josh Sandin
Posted on 2/22/2012
FORT DODGE - Iowa Central Community College’s video conferencing classrooms are getting a much-needed upgrade this semester as new Internet Protocol software has been implemented on the new Triton Network.
Gone are the days of students looking at teachers on old box-style televisions and pressing a microphone button to participate in class. Now the classrooms have been upgraded with flat panel televisions and live microphones.
“All mics are live at all times which gives the feel that everyone is in the same physical classroom, or at least a better sense of it,” said Iowa Central’s Dean of Distance Learning, T.J. Martin. “We are now able to offer classes to our centers that normally would not be offered.”
The upgrade makes Iowa Central’s video conferencing classrooms some of the most advanced in the state. Not only is Iowa Central the only community college in the state with the new system, but of the six in operation, Iowa Central owns four of them. They are being used at Iowa Central’s Fort Dodge, Storm Lake and Webster City campuses.
“Other colleges will probably soon be adding classrooms but we have always wanted to offer classes to constituents outside of the Fort Dodge area classes that would normally be difficult to offer due to low numbers,” said Martin. “We are adding three more this summer so that additional classes can be offered outside of Fort Dodge.”
The new software replaces a system that was very outdated. Installed in the 1980’s, the ICN classrooms have served their purpose, but the need for more modern equipment had become apparent. The new equipment provides a high definition visual and audio experience to the students and also brings some new and advanced features that Iowa Central plans to implement in the near future.
“Right now we are using the new system as basically an upgrade to the one we had,” said Martin. “The system can do some very cool things and we are excited about how we can put them to use.”