University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

An iPodia Story:
 Students see classmates from different campus in iPodia classroom

Students across the globe regularly gather to attend lectures to learn from professors with their colleagues. Though this event occurs regularly, in the iPodia classroom, students come together in a remarkable way. Simultaneously, students from iPodia universities around the globe gather in a “single” classroom. The physical classrooms are linked together virtually; students see their global classmates on screens projected in each of their classrooms. Audio and video are linked live, so students access the same lecture, professor, and discussion at the same time. Additionally, students are assigned discussion groups for each week to connect with local and international classmates for processing and absorbing material provided for the course. Discussions in the iPodia classroom have increased insight and several cultural perspectives on a topic. This is particularly important in our increasingly global world.

Creating an iPodia is complex. A student at the University of Southern California (USC) may walk into their classroom at 7:30 AM  on a Thursday morning. They’re classmates in Israel attend class at 5:30 PM Thursday night. The remainder of the class joins from Hyderabad and Goa, India at 8 PM, Thursday night. These students are separated by 8,500 miles and a 12.5-hour time difference, they all attend the same class to learn from the same professor based on the same syllabus. In this borderless classroom, students are able to study side-by-side synchronously, discourse back-and-forth interactively, and work on team projects collaboratively. iPodia students must be dedicated to learning and put in effort to work with their classmates to complete projects, coordinating across timezones.

The iPodia classroom uses a state-of-the-art Internet infrastructure to transcend the geographical, temporal, institutional and cultural boundaries between the iPodia Alliance members’ physical classrooms. The coalition is called the Viterbi iPodia (ViP) Alliance and was created by USC among world-class universities. The goal of the Coalition is to tear down the centuries-old ivory towers of higher learning to create a classrooms-without-borders paradigm in the 21st century. The size of the iPodia coalition continues to grow as new universities partner with the program.