Bell Atlantic and EVCI Bring the Virtual Classroom To Students at Home or the Office
High-Speed Data Lines and Video-Enabled PCs Give New Meaning to e-Learning
February 14, 2000
St. John's University
NEW YORK - College students can now sit in the front row of the classroom without ever having to leave their home or office.
Remote Learning Solutions (RLS) - an innovative program created by Bell Atlantic and Educational Video Conferencing, Inc. (EVCI) - enables students to see, hear and speak to professors and fellow students through their personal computer at home or work. RLS uses Bell Atlantic's high-speed data services and video-enabled PCs to deliver fully accredited college courses and corporate training programs that go far beyond typical text-based classrooms offered on the Web.
Bell Atlantic and EVCI also provide educational courses in corporate environments via video conferencing.
"Our alliance with EVCI enables us to package valuable content with our high-speed multimedia network to serve a new market that we could not have served alone," said Bill Talbot, director of Market Management for Bell Atlantic. "This service will revolutionize the way students access the benefits of higher education and corporate training."
Dr. John J. McGrath, president of EVCI said, "Remote Learning Solutions will totally transform the learning experience for adults looking to balance work, family and career. And it will help corporate human resource departments provide educational programs that sharpen an employee's professional skills and enhance their contribution to the business."
RLS is delivered via Bell Atlantic's Infospeed DSL sm (Digital Subscriber Line) service, which carries data up to 126 times faster than typical 56 K modems. DSL gives students and professors live, real-time interaction from the location they choose, as well as 24-hour access to the Internet on their home telephone line without interrupting their telephone service. Where Infospeed service is not yet available, RLS is offered over Integrated Services Digital Network, or ISDN lines.
EVCI delivers educational content via live, two-way interactive, high-speed multipoint connections. EVCI's technology delivers live video conferencing between a professor and students at multiple locations in real time over the Internet.
As part of the initiative, Bell Atlantic, EVCI and leading educational institutions are providing video-enabled PCs and Infospeed DSL service at no additional charge beyond the standard course tuition, providing the student commits to a set number of courses per year in a degree program. Expert technical advisors deliver and set up the equipment and show the student how to use it.
The program is available throughout Bell Atlantic's region, which extends from Maine to Virginia.
Education Made Convenient for Busy Adults
The new program appeals to a broad range of people looking to further their education, especially working adults with hectic personal and professional lives. With RLS, students don't have to spend precious time traveling to and from a university campus. In addition, students can "attend" the college of their choice whether the school is located in the next town or the next state.
"Being able to telecommute to college is a great way to squeeze one more personal achievement into the day without taking away from my other priorities," said Kathleen Casey, a Merrill Lynch employee who takes college courses via RLS. "Work and family obligations don't leave me with a lot of free time. I wouldn't be able to further my education if I had to spend time traveling from home-to-work-to-campus-to-home."
Large corporations are using the RLS system to create or augment in-house training programs and retain talented employees. RLS also eliminates the expense associated with sending employees off site for training. Corporations can invest the savings in the training of additional employees. "The Bell Atlantic/EVCI program provides a great return on investment for us," said Bill Coda, director of Global Operations Training at Merrill Lynch. "Many employees want to pursue higher education. Giving them that opportunity with tuition reimbursement and making it so convenient helps them reach their professional goals."
Helping Businesses Support Employee Goals
The idea to deliver courses to the desktop was driven by companies such as Merrill Lynch, Citibank, N.A. (North America) and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) that find training and continuing education to be critical in retaining good employees - especially at a time when the economy offers numerous career opportunities.
Other large customers participating in the program include Lockheed Martin Corp. and the New York City Board of Education School District 10.
"Providing top quality education to our employees in a convenient cost effective manner is a win for AIG and our staff," said Axel I. Freudmann, senior vice president of Human Resources for AIG. "Keeping pace in developing the skills and knowledge of our employees is a critical objective in a rapidly changing world. The ability for our staff to access courses from leading colleges and universities ensures our competitiveness in the new economy."
Among the colleges, universities and training organizations participating in Remote Learning Solutions are St. John's University, Clemson University, Adelphi University, Manhattan College, The College of Insurance, Mercy College, Kaplan Educational Centers, Dearborn Institute and Touro College and University (including Touro Law School).
"St. John's University is committed to this distance learning initiative," said Peter J. Tobin, Dean, College of Business. "The College of Business is eager to be part of this new alliance with Bell Atlantic and EVCI, offering the college's premier business education programs to a growing market of adult learners at home and work."
About Bell Atlantic
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.
About Educational Video Conferencing, Inc.
Educational Video Conferencing, Inc. is a leading education technology company that delivers accredited college courses and degree programs, as well as professional development programs to corporations, governments and community groups through interactive video conferencing room and desktop systems. Through technology, EVCI provides students with access to educational opportunities while enabling educational institutions to serve new populations.
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