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Monash University Leads the Way in Educating and Training Medical Students in Rural Australia with Cisco TelePresence
Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011

MELBOURNE, Australia - Cisco Live! - March 31, 2011 - Cisco today announced that Monash University, Australia's largest university, will use Cisco TelePresenceTM to provide a virtual, real-time connection between medical students on work placement in rural Victoria and teaching staff located at central campuses.

Monash University's Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences is extending the in-person classroom environment to medical students on work placement in rural Victoria through Cisco TelePresence, an immersive, lifelike communications experience that combines high-definition video and high-quality audio to realistically convey the body language and human elements that are critical to the interactive nature of a classroom.

With Cisco TelePresence rolled out at the Gippsland Medical School in Churchill and other training locations in rural Victoria – including regional clinical schools in Traralgon and Bairnsdale – the university can provide students with access to teaching staff, irrespective of where they are based, and as though they are all sitting in the same tutorial room. Cisco TelePresence allows students at these rural-based campuses, located up to 300 kilometres away from the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD), to gain new educational opportunities and enjoy richer and more productive collaborative learning experiences.

The Cisco TelePresence units in Gippsland are well suited for tutorial-based instruction. A range of additional projects are planned, including student-led peer-assisted learning, research supervision of post-graduate students, simulated patient-led coaching for students, master classes in patient-centred communication, revision of clinical skills, and support for international medical graduates.

Monash University is also seeking opportunities to partner with other institutions supporting Cisco TelePresence, enabling learning exchanges between rural and metropolitan environments, both in Australia and overseas.

"With the implementation of Cisco TelePresence, we are at the forefront of providing educational innovation in a rural environment. We aim to offer the right level of student supervision at the right time and in the right place. Cisco TelePresence enables us to have increased and continual access to students at clinical sites throughout the region so we can maintain this level of supervision," said Debra Nestel, Professor of Medical Education at Monash University's Gippsland Medical School.

"This has been a very momentous 12 months in terms of the health landscape in Australia. The Victorian Government initiative 'Roads to Rural Practice' has explored a framework for improving the education, training, retention and recruitment of medical students, pre-vocational doctors and vocational trainees in rural Victoria. The Gippsland Medical School is a foundation member of the Gippsland Primary Health Interest Group that is leading the region through these changing times," said Professor Nestel.

Virtual learning environments created by using Cisco TelePresence help universities embrace environmental sustainability goals through the reduction of travel of faculty and staff, while extending the reach of university experts and attracting new students.

"With Australia's focus on improving the delivery of remote health services with innovations in video, educational infrastructure that actively attracts and promotes medical talent in rural and remote communities is essential. Cisco is very proud to be providing this next-generation education technology to Monash University's Gippsland Medical School faculty, staff and students to aid in delivering better health outcomes for Australia's rural communities," said Ken Boal, director of Public Sector for Cisco Australia and New Zealand.