Byteworks’ WebEx Solution: Revolutionizing Remote Collaboration for Georgia Technical College
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College (WGTC), located in Waco, Georgia, is a prominent institution that has been serving the residents of Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Meriwether, and Troup Counties for over 60 years. Since its establishment in 1963, WGTC has earned a distinguished reputation for its excellence in technical education.
As part of the Technical College System of Georgia, WGTC is dedicated to adapting to students’ changing needs, equipping them with essential skills and knowledge for workforce success, and empowering them through cutting-edge technology and a forward-thinking approach in preparation for a rapidly evolving job market. WGTC remains a leader among educational institutions in Georgia, actively shaping the future and propelling progress within the communities it serves.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WGTC, like many other institutions, faced the challenge of transitioning to hybrid learning models. Initially, the college implemented Jabber, a unified communications application by Cisco, to facilitate remote collaboration. However, as the need for remote learning grew, it became evident that Jabber’s capabilities were insufficient in supporting the college’s 6,000+ student population, 11 physical teaching locations, and faculty teaching remotely.
While Jabber had served the campus community well during the pandemic, the college had grown beyond Jabber’s usefulness. Without video, voice, and chat functionality, students and their teachers were limited in what they could do in remote classroom sessions.
The limitations of Jabber greatly hindered learning and reinforced the growing idea that remote collaboration tools were no longer optional for WGTC but essential to remain competitive as a community college.
Hybrid Learning – A Core Strategy for Education
Recognizing the need for a reliable, scalable, and user-friendly hybrid learning tool, Byteworks recommended WebEx as the ideal solution for the college’s virtual environment. A cloud-based software, WebEx enhanced virtual learning with:
Remote Collaboration: WebEx allows students, faculty, and staff to collaborate remotely in real time, which is especially useful for WGTC’s remote employees, students, or teams working on projects across different campus locations.
Screen Sharing: With WebEx, participants can share their screens, making it easier to collaborate on presentations, documents, and other projects.
Recording and Playback: WebEx allows attendees to record classes and meetings, making it possible to review lectures or share them with students who couldn’t attend the virtual course.
Security: WebEx is designed with safety in mind, providing features such as password protection, encryption, and secure sign-in.
Integration: WebEx was integrated with WGTC’s learning management platform, Blackboard, and many other applications, such as Microsoft Office and Google Classroom, making it easy to schedule and join classes and meetings from within those applications.
Mobile Access: WebEx has mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing participants to join class meetings from anywhere with an internet connection.
WebEx allowed the college to conduct virtual classes, meetings, and events and provided a platform for students and faculty to collaborate in real time from any location.
Byteworks also provided comprehensive training and support to the college’s IT team to ensure a smooth transition to Webex. This training included hands-on training sessions, user guides, and technical support to address any issues during the transition.
The implementation process took less than a month, focusing on seamless integration and minimal disruption to the college’s operations. And, because WebEx is a cloud-based service, the solution was integrated faster and more efficiently and did not require any changes to any on-premise hardware.
“Byteworks’ implementation of the WebEx app has been a game changer for our college. It has made it much easier for our students to participate in online classes and for our faculty to teach remotely. We’re grateful for the partnership with Byteworks and look forward to continuing to provide high-quality, hybrid education in a virtual environment,” says Carissa Werely, IT Systems Administrator for WGTC.
The impact of Byteworks’ solution was significant. The college saw an immediate improvement in communication and collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. With the adoption of WebEx and seamless integration with existing applications, the college could conduct virtual classes and meetings more efficiently, allowing students, faculty, and staff to collaborate in real time from any location. The college’s sensitive data was protected at all times by the new communication infrastructure, which also increased security and reliability.
“From the fall of 2020 to this spring 2023 semester, TCSG’s eCampus course offerings have increased from one course to more than 370 courses currently offered. Student enrollment has grown from serving seven students at three colleges to over 2,000 across 22 colleges. And while in-person learning options have resumed in much of the United States, we have every intention of further scaling our eCampus offerings because investing in hybrid learning is not only a good business decision but one that meets the needs of Georgia’s diverse student population,” said Steve Ferguson, CIO at Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).
The WebEx solution provided a comprehensive and effective solution to the collaboration challenges faced by WGTC. The upgrade of the college’s communication infrastructure and the adoption of WebEx have significantly improved remote learning and has positioned WGTC as a leading provider of high-quality, hybrid education in a virtual environment.