With a growing need to teach physical therapy to students located in rural areas, the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine invested in a high-definition videoconferencing platform. Requiring ease of use, low cost and scalability, the institution found the answer in Logitech’s
The faculty provides graduate-level courses in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology and audiology. It also develops research in musculoskeletal health, spinal cord injuries and other aspects of human physiology. As Alberta’s government has recognized a looming shortage of physical therapists, the province is keen to see schools like U of A invest in programs designed to help mitigate the shortfall.
The university wanted to enhance the physical therapy courses offered at its rural campus in Camrose, located some 100 km south east from the main campus in Edmonton. “If we can train rural student in a rural setting hopefully they’ll stay and become physical therapists,” explained Dave Polvere, manager of IT systems and support at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
The school figured videoconferencing would support that endeavour – but not your run-of-the-mill VC. High-definition would be needed. “A lot of the content in the hands-on education requires that high quality,” Polvere says, explaining that for physical therapists, demonstrations must be detailed. “Being able to see the colour difference on someone’s skin when you apply pressure is very important.”
Although the provincial government favoured increased access to education, it was operating under a spending freeze, so the university could count on no additional funds for the videoconferencing implementation. The solution would need to provide HD connectivity at a low cost.