What Is Distance Learning?
Distance Learning is a method of instruction that delivers information to students who are remotely located. At the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development, Distance Learning typically entails the use of several different technologies.
Media Capture Rooms
The most common method is performed by holding a traditional class in a media capture room equipped with video cameras and microphones. The class is then streamed live on the Internet and is also archived for later viewing. Distance learning students view the classes via this web site:
Media Capture Room
Often times a video conference is also held in the media rooms to connect individuals who are remotely located. The video conference allows for real time interaction, allowing individuals to see each other via display monitors, as seen in the image above. Video Conferencing is often used to connect students in the Sacramento Center to classes held at the University Park Campus.
Online Collaboration Tools
Adobe Connect is an online collaboration tool that combines video conferencing with along with a shared digital workspace allowing remote students to display presentations, write on a digital white board, share links and other information. To join an Adobe Connect meeting, the distance learning student launches a web browser on his/her computer or iPhone Adobe Connect client application, and accesses a hyper link provided by the meeting organizer (typically the instructor or TA). The web browser will then display the “meeting room” (see image below) allowing for real time collaboration.
Adobe Connect Meeting
At the Price School of Public Policy, remote students perform “in-class” presentations using Adobe Connect. A web browser containing the Adobe Connect meeting is displayed on a projector screen or monitor in front of the class, and the distance student uses the presentation area (as shown in the above image) to display PowerPoint slides and other information.
Blackboard is an online tool that serves as a document repository, and communication tool. The document repository feature allows distance students to access class documents such as the syllabus, PowerPoint presentations and assignments.
Blackboard also has a chat function, and a discussion board that allows students to interact with the instructor and with each other. The chat function allows for real time interaction, where as the discussion board allows students to post information and start an online discussion thread that can be accessed at any time.
Blackboard Document Repository