Three events scheduled for National Distance Learning Week

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By PATRICIA MCGLAMORY

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

Distance education classes are becoming a more popular way to take college courses.

Students can take online classes anywhere, any time, Usha Venkat, director of information and communication technologies, said Oct. 29.

“It is also very flexible, in a sense that the students will be able to complete these assignments and they are not tied to a specific timeframe,” she said.

Nov. 5-9 is National Distance Learning Week, and the office of technology services is sponsoring events for students and faculty to see what this college has to offer with distance learning.

“Right now technology is used in both, our face-to-face teachers as well as our distance education teachers,” Venkat said.

Distance education is growing not only for exclusively online classes, but also for face-to-face classes being supplemented with online coursework.

In fall 2010, this college offered 377 Internet course sections, with an enrollment of 2,911 students.

In fall 2011, the college offered 364 online course sections, with 3,513 students enrolled.

And this semester shows 373 online course sections, with 3,859 students enrolled.

This growth shows nearly a 33 percent increase in online enrollment in the last two years.

Distance learning options can be enrolling in an online course, hybrid/blended course, web-enhanced course, telecourse or an interactive video conferencing course, according to the distance learning site for this college.

Online courses are 100 percent Internet delivered. Hybrid/blended courses are face-to-face classes, meeting on scheduled class days, combined with online assignments. Web-enhanced courses are delivered face-to-face with online assignments. Telecourses are video-based, but face-to-face meetings may be required. Interactive video conferencing is an interactive video and audio conferencing system used to connect remote classrooms at scheduled times and locations.

A virtual distance learning panel will be presented 10 a.m.-10:50 a.m. Wednesday. For logon access instructions, go to http://alamo.edu/sac/DistanceLearning.

Psychology Professor Pamela Hill, mortuary science Professor Francisco E. Solis and librarian Celita DeArmond will compose the panel.

Hill will speak about the Online Learning Institute and ways teachers can use online open content to supplement their teaching materials.

Solis will take “another spin” in teaching face-to-face classes, Venkat said.

He records his face-to-face classes and makes it available on the Internet.

Venkat uses this example as a form of distance learning to show that if a student misses a class because of an emergency or getting tied up at work, they can still catch up.

DeArmond will speak on humanizing technology and ways technology can be used to reach students.

A technology showcase forum and reception are 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Thursday in Room 120 of the visual arts center.

A distance learning booth will be in the mall 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday.

For more information, call 210-486-0030 or go to http://alamo.edu/sac/DistanceLearning.

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