Unified Communications System in Tulsa Powers Virtual Classroom
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Tulsa Technology Center, a school district with four campuses that offers career and technology education classes in Oklahoma, will be deploying a Nortel and Microsoft unified communications platform. The district will be using Xeta Technologies, a national provider of converged voice and data communications solutions. The platform is expected to enhance student-teacher communication while reducing school expenses.
The platform will connect the school's 700 staff members and 3,000 students through Microsoft SharePoint, allowing teachers to conduct class virtually with actively enrolled students worldwide. A feature called Presence will show teachers whether a student is attending class regardless of the student's physical location as long as he or she is logged on to the school's SharePoint site. The site also will function as a social network to keep students in touch with classmates, teachers and other subject-matter experts after leaving Tulsa Tech.
A voicemail-to-the-Exchange-Inbox feature will provide staff members direct access to voicemail from their e-mail accounts. Users will be able to click their mouse to dial the person they are trying to reach, and the network automatically will tell the dialer whether the person is already on the line or writing an e-mail. Additionally, a voice-driven feature will allow staff to vocally transcribe, send and receive e-mails, as well as access e-mail audibly.
In August 2007 Xeta deployed Nortel's CS1000 Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) platform to converge phone and Internet access into a single system. In the next phase of the project, the company will integrate Tulsa Tech's e-mail network into the system, adding virtual communication capabilities for audio, video and web conferencing.
"Expanding the school's old digital phone system through traditional duplicate cabling would have cost Tulsa Tech several hundred thousand dollars in our current construction projects alone," Jerry Moore, director of client and network systems for Tulsa Tech said. "Instead, Xeta was able to provide an affordable unified communications solution with the superior reliability, performance and value required to take Tulsa Tech s communication to a new level."
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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.