Connected Classrooms: Video Conferencing Enhances Distance Learning

Some students, including my paralegal degree program students, have expressed their dislike for online classes. Now, a new offering at Globe University allows students to circumvent online classes while retaining flexibility in their course schedules.

Our video conferencing technology allows a class to be taught at one campus by an instructor that is transmitted via video conference to another campus. Both classes can see and interact with one another.  Other than not being physically present in the classroom, it is similar to a residential class. 

video conferenceWith the ability to take digital video classes, students can circumvent the need to take online classes when a residential class is not being offered at their home campus. Many have expressed their appreciation for this offering.

Paralegal student Tracy Schill shared her thoughts on the digital classroom environment, saying, “I really enjoyed having my Ethics of Law class via video conference. It was nice to meet paralegal students from another campus. Plus it saved me time and money by having the class available at the Wausau campus versus me having to drive to another campus.” 

Granted, video-conferenced classes can pose their own challenges. An instructor and the students taking the class digitally need to be thoroughly prepared in advance.

All materials that are normally handed out in class must be available to the digital students. However, the use of Campus Connect–our  student portal–has been a tremendous benefit in getting the students their materials prior to the start of class. Instructors can post the information and have the students access it prior to class.

In addition, any quizzes or examinations must be sent prior to the start of class.  Often, the conferenced-in class will have a proctor. The instructor needs to provide the proctor with the quizzes and exams prior to class, and after class, the proctor needs to return the completed quizzes and exams to the instructor.

Getting students involved and encouraging interaction is a challenge instructors face regardless of the medium, and getting the digital students to interact with the residential class is no exception.  In some situations, the instructor must specifically engage the digital students or call on them before they will participate in discussions.

video conference, Globe UniversityDespite the challenges, the video conference classes are in their infancy and overall beneficial for the students and Globe University. Video conferencing is now just another perk to being a student and instructor at Globe University.

By Denise Harris, JD, Paralegal Program Chair, Globe University-Wausau Campus