Charter Oak State College Implements CISCO Unified Communications System

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State’s online college to provide students with multi-modal support via voice, chat and interactive video conference

Charter Oak State College, Connecticut’s public online college for adults seeking to complete bachelor’s degrees, has implemented Cisco Unified Communications (UC). Cisco UC is a leading-edge Voice over IP (VOIP) system designed to provide unprecedented customer-focused phone, chat, and e-mail service to the thousands of students that attend Charter Oak State College.

Charter Oak worked closely with ePlus Technology, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner with Cisco Master Unified Communications Specialization, to analyze its business objectives and technical requirements. ePlus designed a Cisco UC solution that provided the requisite functionality, integrated with existing network components, is scalable to meet future needs, and has the high availability and reliability needed to attract and retain students and improve customer service. ePlus was engaged on the initiative for pre-sales design, project management, installation, and end user training.

“We had many partners that provided input and assistance with this project. Rather than one group making a decision, we brought together leadership from several state agencies to help us learn and develop a solution that would provide unparalleled customer service for our growing population of online students,” said George Claffey, Charter Oak’s Chief Information Officer. “Today’s online learners don’t always pick up the phone. The Cisco UC system will provide students, faculty and staff multi-modal support through voice, chat, and interactive video conference. Higher education is in a time of tremendous change and there are some traditional models that just aren’t sustainable anymore. Our goal was to develop a solution and identify a partner who could meet our needs today and help us respond to the industry and customer shifts of tomorrow.”

Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak said, “Charter Oak prides itself in providing world-class customer service to its students and we are excited to have a technology that will allow our college to respond to today’s student requirements while providing a framework to meet the student needs of tomorrow.”

“We are pleased to extend our long-term relationship with Charter Oak with the selection and implementation of Cisco Unified Communications,” said Mark Melvin, chief technology officer of advanced technology solutions for ePlus Technology. “By leveraging our Cisco expertise, higher education experience, and Connecticut procurement contract, we are able to pass many benefits along to the College, including cost savings, enhanced collaboration, improved staff productivity, and better student retention.”

While Charter Oak will continue to provide asynchronous education through Blackboard Learn, a leading learning management system, it will augment classes and professor student interaction with real-time, high definition video conference provided by WebEx. “We employ over 250 faculty across the country to teach our courses. The WebEX toolset provides a high quality space for faculty to student and student to student interaction,” said Dana Wilkie, Dean of Undergraduate Studies. “It was important for us to pick a tool that not only provided high quality but had an intuitive and easy to use interface. WebEX will allow students to focus on the quality and content of what they are discussing, rather than worry about if their microphone or video is working.”

About Charter Oak State College

As an online institution, Charter Oak strives to leverage technology to reduce the physical distance between the College and its students. The college offers 16 workforce relevant degree programs that can be completed online, including Business Administration, Health Care Administration and Public Safety Administration among others. Charter Oak is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and reports to Connecticut’s recently formed Board of Regents. Founded in 1973, the College has over 11,000 alums.

About ePlus inc.

ePlus is a leading provider of technology solutions. ePlus enables organizations to optimize their IT infrastructure and supply chain processes by delivering world-class IT products from top manufacturers, professional services, flexible lease financing, proprietary software, and patented business methods. Founded in 1990, ePlus has more than 750 associates in 20+ locations serving federal, state, municipal, and commercial customers. The Company is headquartered in Herndon, VA. For more information, visit, call 888-482-1122, or email info(at)eplus(dot)com.

ePlus is a Cisco Gold Certified Partner and has achieved Cisco Master Specializations in Security and Unified Communications as well as the Cisco Managed Services Master Certification. In addition, ePlus holds Cisco Specializations in Advanced Routing and Switching, Advanced Data Center Storage Networking, Advanced Data Center Networking Infrastructure, Advanced Wireless LAN, and Cisco Authorized Unified Meetingplace Partner as well as Cisco ATP designations in Cisco TelePresence Video Master, Video Surveillance, and Data Center Unified Computing. For more information about Cisco solutions from ePlus, visit


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Carolyn Hebert
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