Real distance learning must be interactive; there must be a dialog between the student and the instructor/mentor for the full learning experience.
Merely presenting video-on-demand lecture sessions is only the first step in learning. While lectures are very valuable; they are intended to set the stage and frame the interactions and discussions between student and instructor/mentor that take place after the student views the videos. The videos are not the end of the learning process, merely the beginning of it.
In addition to each course's video-on-demand lectures that are presented, there are also interactive features and functions embedded in each virtual classroom that provide multiple ways for students to enter into direct dialog with instructors/mentors. Dialogs can be questions, two-way discussions and personalized suggestions fo follow-up study. Instructor-led interaction will provide a higher level of learning and, often, personalized context that can be very valuable for the student. Also, these same interactive features will allow each student to have discussions and dialog with the other members of the class. Student-to-student learning, with the assistance of instructors and mentors, forms a powerful learning community that can be critical to the learning process.
In the sidebar on the right side of the virtual classroom pages, all of our interactive features and functions for each class are listed. Some are synchronous applications which mean all users must be on-line and using the feature/function at the same time. Other are asynchronous applications which mean the users can come in, use the function and then come back another time and see the responses from others. Both types of applications work together to provide a virtual classroom.
Click here to review all of the interactive features and functions available in our virtual classrooms and private meeting rooms.
The Class Forum is the cornerstone of our interactive features in our virtual classrooms. In the Class Forum, you can open new threads of conversations for discussions or question on any topic you wish. Also, you can read the threads of your classmates and instructors/mentors and post comments, if you want, expanding the discussion.
We recommend that after you view each video session that you enter the Class Forum and either start or continue discussions of the material just covered in the video you just finished viewing. The Class Forum is asynchronous which means your colleagues in the class won't have to be on-line together; you can post your new thread or comment and come back later to read replies and enter additional responses.
From time to time, there will be synchronous interactive events where the class will meet on-line as a group. Examples include Live Broadcasts, Conference Calls, and Live Chats. Because everyone is on-line together, synchronous events are excellent opportunities for fully-interactive dialogs in real time. Synchronous events will be announced ahead of time so watch the Class Calendar and the Class Forum.
As soon as you join the class, be sure to fill out the class roster and be sure to add a photo of yourself. Be sure to update any of your information if it changes during the class. Your contact information and photo will be private and will only be seen by members of the class.