Telepresence is a teleconference technology that is currently being piloted by Wesleyan University. It gives classes the capability to share seats with students on other university campuses, allowing peer institutions to give credit to their students for classes taken virtually through Telepresence at Wesleyan. This could expand or sustain course offerings here at Wesleyan in the long run as well—ensuring classes are well enrolled, as well as potentially offering classes that we do not currently have.
As Senior Associate Provost Karen Anderson noted, “We could potentially share seats in classes with our peer schools. We could expand our course offerings for our students through this equipment.”
In Spring 2014, the first pilot course was done in conjunction with Trinity College and Connecticut College, a Neuroscience and Behavior course on “Schizophrenia and Its Treatment” taught by Professor Matthew Kurtz. Each university had five students enrolled in the class, with students from Trinity and Conn College participating and engaging through Telepresence.
Professor Kurtz, the first to use Telepresence in a course at Wesleyan, remarked, “The surprises were that we were able to get discussions going… we had good discussions going. I was impressed with the lack of delay.”
The pilot program will continue in the coming semesters before Academic Affairs decides if this will be a “regular feature of the curriculum.”