Capturing the Moment

Capturing the Moment

Wayne State University Turns To Webcasting And Distance Learning To Address Nursing Shortage

DETROIT, MI—According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the shortage of registered nurses in the U.S. could reach 500,000 by 2025. As baby boomers age, the demand for nurses keeps growing, but American universities are hardpressed to keep up.

The biggest problem is an old one, said Nicole Rose Puente, director of information technology for the College of Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit. “We had over 1,000 applicants to our nursing school last year and could admit only 93,” she explained. “It’s not because our college is at capacity, but because we don’t have money to pay the faculty to teach them.”

A Wayne State professor records her class using one of three Accordent Capture Stations permanently installed on campus. The lecture will be available on demand to students who were unable to attend or who want to review the material. distance learning systems to reach more students more effectively with the faculty they have. Puente said the effort, to which she and her staff provide technical services, is spread over several major initiatives.

In the fall of 2006 the College of Nursing installed its first Accordent Capture Station and brought Puente in from the business school to help start up a web and podcasting program. By the fall of 2007, the college added videoconferencing codecs and three more Capture Stations to its inventory. They can now offer two-way distance learning and webcasting from up to four classrooms simultaneously.

By the fall of 2009, the college plans to add a lab with five human patient simulators to help provide practical training. “Each of these rooms will look like a hospital room,” Puente explained, with a robotic simulator acting as the patient. Up to three nursing students will be able to interact with the ‘patients’ at one time, with the instructor and other students watching live or on demand via a webcast stream. “The Capture Station will record what the student is doing,” Puente said.

Another advantage of the systems Nursing installed is their flexibility and scaleability. “When we started the program we were not sure how well this was going to take off—how much it was going to be used. It was easy for us to get started with a single Capture Station and set up a server, and it wasn’t a huge investment.”

Today the College of Nursing uses a Polycom HDX videoconferencing codec integrated with each of its Accordent Capture Stations, together with high-definition cameras, a Smart Sympodium, a document camera, and Crestron or AMX room controls. Three of the systems are installed permanently and one can be rolled from classroom to classroom. Recently Puente added the Accordent Media Management System (AMMS) to the server, a software package that can catalog and access captured lectures. AMMS greatly expands their ability to find and search through the lecture streams.

Don Kreski provides marketing consulting to the AV industry. Visit him at