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Distance Learning Up Close: New Courses Added for Summer

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 13, 2009

Distance learning is nothing new at UNH; the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences began offering Web classes through Far View in 1997. The nursing program offers distance and hybrid courses year-round.

Now, classes from the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture will be among the seven new courses being piloted this summer using Blackboard.

Included are Introduction to Intelligence ( political science); History and Nature of Marriage (humanities), Technology, Crime and Society (justice studies) and the History of Musical Theatre (theater and dance), all liberal arts courses. Also, from COLSA, Contemporary Conservation Issues, and from the College of Health and Human Services, Technology in Social Work.

“There are other classes being offered; these are just the new ones,” says Terri Winters, director of academic technology. “This summer’s pilot will provide the opportunity for faculty to experiment with technologies that enable reaching a wider audience as well as the pedagogies that support their teaching objectives.”

Some of the distance learning courses will be available exclusively online. Others will require occasional visits to campus. And some will have a combination, with students attending class while others access the lecture via Blackboard.

Kevin O’Shea, a Homeland Security and intelligence specialist with Justice Works, is teaching Technology, Crime and Society. Preparing for the online class differed from the classroom model only in the timeline of having materials ready.

By using Blackboard, students will be able to “attend” class 24 hours a day, any day of the week, from wherever they are at the time as long as they have the work done by the next class. That, O’Shea says, is one of the pluses.

“Distance learning allows you to maximize your time, both the students and the professors,” he says. “At the same time, it’s not a magical answer for every ailment in education right now but it serves as effective way to reach people who we otherwise might not reach.”

Faculty members will have the ability to stream information via Blackboard and all of the material will be archived on the Web.

The pilot courses run May 25 through August 14.

For a complete listing of distance learning courses: http://www.learn2.unh.edu/feature4.html. For questions, or more information, contact Winters at terri.winters@unh.edu or call 2-7039.


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