June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Continuing Professional Development
13.1284.1 - 13.1284.18
The Virtual Synchronous Classroom:
Real time off-campus classroom participation with Adobe Connect
In metropolitan areas populated with technical industries, many employees desire a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. However, the need for frequent commutes to university campuses poses a major deterrent to pursuing one. To serve this population, and enable their rich practical work experiences to enhance the education of our traditional on-campus students, we are implementing the following scenario.
Local technical workers stay in their offices at lunch-time sitting at computers armed with headphones and microphones to attend, and participate in, an electric circuits class via an internet connection. Other students, on the university campus, sit in a traditional classroom setting augmented with room microphones. Both groups of students view the electronic whiteboard that is generated by the instructor writing on a Tablet PC projected to the campus classroom through an LCD projector and to the off-campus students through Adobe Connect software. Two students are not able to attend class today due to work and athletic commitments; they will view the Adobe Connect recording at a later time. One off campus student isn't clear on an example and speaks into her microphone to ask the professor for further clarification...
This scenario affords the distance learner the ability a) to learn from the questions posed by the on-campus students, and b) the ability to interact with the instructor real-time in an efficient manner. Our implementation does not significantly alter the experience of the on-campus classroom, and it can be implemented in most classroom settings. Thus, it promises to be scalable to all of our engineering courses. In this paper, we discuss the benefits and challenges of this scenario as we have experienced them, suggest some best practices that we have discovered, and discuss relevant departmental and institutional issues.
Currently students interested in studying for a B.S. in engineering who work full time and/or live a fair distance from a university campus typically have limited options. 1) Enroll in fully online/video courses which are separate from the traditional on-campus courses. 2) Attend traditional day-time courses requiring long commutes and/or difficult arrangements to be away from work for a significant amount of time. 3) Find a program offering evening courses, and still possibly face long commutes. 4) Enroll in a course that is offered at a local classroom facility remote from the host campus. In our region, these last two options, once more common, are now only rarely available for engineering students. To address the needs of the remote engineering students, some universities have begun using web conferencing software1 and the power of the internet to develop real-time interactive distance learning. Anecdotal
Plett, M., & Peter, D., & Parsons, S., & Gjerding, B. (2008, June), The Virtual Synchronous Classroom: Real Time Off Campus Classroom Participation With Adobe Connect Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3214
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