Connecting students and teachers with the jungles of Panama

Imagine studying the behavior and structure of a rare insect in its Panamanian rain forest environment without ever leaving the classroom. That’s exactly what students who participate in Arizona State University’s (ASU) distance learning programs were able to do.

Incorporating ASU’s Biology, Plant Biology and Microbiology departments, the School of Life Sciences at ASU provides a wide range of experiences for students that build on the university’s burgeoning role in biotechnical and biomedical research.

In keeping with its goal of expanding opportunities for students and faculty, the School launched a virtual classroom program in which students in Arizona were able to see, speak with and exchange information face-to-face and in real time with staff scientists and researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, and with experts at Smithsonian headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Understanding tropical habitats

STRI is one of the leading biological research institutions in the world. With facilities used by more than 900 visiting scientists from academic and research institutions globally, collaborations focus on understanding tropical habitats and biological diversity. Further, ASU’s “Current Topics in Tropical Biology” class features virtual lectures by STRI and ASU experts, who also work to mentor students on-site in Arizona and in Panama.

One important goal of the ASU-STRI collaborative is to promote global educational research and discovery opportunities in the areas of biofuels, social structure, sustainability and species diversity.

ASU utilized the Internet2 NET+ Vidyo offering delivered by IDSolutions’ Flame service as a fast and secure way to ensure that the 3,300 miles of distance between Arizona and Panama does not impede students’ ability to learn about and conduct biological research effectively.

Cloud collaboration

Via the Internet2 NET+ initiative, institutions like ASU are able to swiftly deploy secure, reliable and integrated cloud collaboration solutions like Vidyo more responsively to advance scholarly and research pursuits.

Watch this short video to learn more:

Published: 10/2015

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