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About Far View Distance Learning

What to expect:

All students taking this class (whether on campus or off campus) have the same basic setup: a computer connected to the network and a microphone. During the class, the instructor can display PowerPoint-type slides, which may include animation, that will appear on the monitors of the students; a "white board" is also available for displaying free-hand drawings and equations should the instructor wish to elaborate on the slides or respond to questions. Students will hear the instructor's voice through their headsets. 

Interaction between instructor and student can come about through three basic mechanisms. The first mechanism is equivalent to students raising their hand in class when they have a question. If students have a question when taking a class remotely, they can click on a "hand up" icon, which will notify the instructor that a student has a question. The instructor can elect to respond to the student's "raised hand" by turning the floor over to the student. In so doing, the entire class will be able to hear the voice of both the instructor and the student controlling the floor, and that student will also have control of the slides and white board. At the discretion of the instructor, control of the floor can be returned to the instructor after the question has been answered. 

A second mechanism is for students who are timid about taking the floor- they can choose to write "secret" notes to the instructor that will appear only on the instructor's monitor. Using this approach, the instructor can respond to students' questions without sharing with the class the originator of the question. Also, the number and nature of such questions can give the instructor real-time feedback on how well the students are learning the material.

The instructor can get a feel for how well the class is following the lecture by using the third mechanism: posing questions to class. These questions, which can also be used for grading purposes, are displayed as multiple choice questions to the students. As the students respond to the questions, the instructor is presented with a histogram showing which of the multiple-choice answers the students are selecting. By the number of correct answers, as well as by the rate at which the students make their selections, the instructor can get a good indication as to how well the lecture material is being received. 

Class materials, including recordings of the actual classes, are archived on a web site, so that they can be downloaded and printed. Delivering instructional material in this manner eliminates the need to take notes, thus freeing the student to concentrate more on the material, and also giving them more time to interact with the instructor.