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University of Iowa ophthalmologist wins distance learning award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Robert Folberg, Frederick C. Blodi Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, won first place in the distance learning higher education category from Teleconference Magazine and TeleCon for his interactive ocular pathology tele-education sessions.

Folberg has taught ocular pathology to ophthalmology residents at West Virginia University and to students at the Allegmeines Krankenhaus in Vienna, Austria using telecommunications technology. The lectures incorporate a live, two-way video and audio hookup, a video-equipped microscope, slides of case study pathology, computer graphics via CD-ROM, and the UI's F.C. Blodi Eye Pathology Laboratory's World Wide Web page.

The project is a cost-efficient innovation for ophthalmology training programs that do not have an eye pathologist on staff. Typically, these institutions pay for a qualified ocular pathologist to travel to their site and present the lectures. For less time and money, the UI project enables an institution hundreds or thousands of miles away to benefit from a UI professor's expertise. Likewise, institutions in the same city or state could someday develop collaborative projects that share faculty and reduce duplication of training programs.

TeleCon is the world's largest conference and trade show devoted to teleconferencing and interactive multimedia communications. Each year, Teleconference Magazine and TeleCon honor the most outstanding achievements in the teleconferencing, business television, distance learning and telemedicine industries.

Folberg received the award Oct. 27 at the 18th Annual Teleconferencing Users conference in Anaheim, Calif.