Idaho State University’s PA Program: Using Video Conferencing to Connect Geographically Distant Campuses

 Idaho State University’s PA program media booth located on the College of Idaho campus in Caldwell, Idaho
  • Program: Idaho State University
  • Institution Type: Public
  • URL:
  • Location: Pocatello, Idaho

Unique Characteristics of Idaho State’s PA Program

We were one of the first PA programs to use interactive live broadcast instruction — teaching 72 students simultaneously in three fully unified remote classrooms. (Our three campuses are separated by 250 miles.) We integrated Zoom into our classrooms in 2018, allowing us to seamlessly pivot to online and hybrid teaching when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Our classrooms are equipped with multiple high-definition displays with video switching and processing, wireless microphones, studio quality audio processing, PTZ high-resolution camera systems, and audio assistance systems for the hearing impaired. Additional details are available in the Digital Learning Hub.

Our Program’s Impact

With 13 years of experience using video conferencing technology, our program has fine-tuned the hybrid learning experience of face-to-face and online teaching. Our media team developed a classroom setting that is virtual yet at the same time accommodates the comfort of in-person communication. Over the years, several PA programs interested in building their own distance learning model have visited and consulted our staff. We encourage institutions interested in effectively incorporating interactive live broadcasts into their classrooms to visit or contact one of our media experts.

Our Surrounding Community

A full 88 percent of Idaho’s land area is rural. Being the only PA program in Idaho, our three campuses cover the southwest to southeast borders of the state. With Idaho frequently ranking near the bottom among states in physician-to-population ratio, graduates from Idaho State’s PA program help to fill that void.

A Fun Fact About Idaho

Although Idaho is famous for its potatoes, it is also home to the deepest gorge in the United States, Hells Canyon — even deeper than the Grand Canyon! If you want to get lost, come to Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the nation with 2.3 million acres.

This article is part of PAEA’s Program Showcases, which also includes webinars. Learn more about the series here.