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Northwest Missouri State University

Interactive Television/Video Conferencing


Flexible Learning Via Interactive TV

"We are at the crest of radical changes and a total reshaping of the process that we call education..."

The classroom of the near future will be very different from the classroom today. But many things will not change. The human mind will remain wired in the same way, the same needs and aspirations will be experienced by the students and teachers, and the same interpersonal needs and skills must be understood and supported in the emerging technology environment. Students will continue to learn and teachers will continue to teach. Some things cannot be replaced by technology; that is not our goal. Educators cherish face-to-face interaction, the sense of group collaboration, and the presence of a caring teacher as role model, subject matter authority, and group facilitator. Northwest Missouri State University views educational technology as a way of enhancing and facilitating the same age old process of learning, but by making it "flexible".

What is Distance Education?

Distance education is instruction that occurs when the instructor and student are separated by distance or time, or both. Distance learners are people who, because of time, geography, or other constraints, choose not to attend a traditional classroom. Financial considerations, family obligations, or work requirements may point to distance education as an appropriate way to meet their educational goals. Recent advances in telecommunication technologies have radically altered the world of education, greatly increasing the choices and opportunities for students. The course you have enrolled in is distance education via interactive TV.

Two-way interactive video allows video and audio communication in both directions between learners and instructors. All sites in a two-way video system are equipped with cameras, monitors, and microphones. Point-to-point and multipoint connections link the sites, so learners and instructors see and hear each other in real time and use conversation and body language to enhance communication.

If you are considering studying at a distance via technology, you must make informed decisions. It is your responsibility as a consumer to educate yourself about distance education.

Ask yourself:

Classroom Design:

In an interactive classroom, you typically have a camera for instructors, a camera for students, and a document camera for visual materials. The audio component of a distance learning system is more important than any other component. The critical issue is microphone pickup, or the area from which a microphone picks up sounds. Some classrooms are equipped with microphones in the ceiling while others have desktop microphones. Any equipment used for presenting in a face-to-face classroom setting can be used in the Interactive TV setting.


Most students have never reflected on how they learn, what their learning skills are or how to adapt their preferred learning style to interactive TV. All learners will experience growth in the course and most are surprised at how different it feels compared to classroom-based, face-to-face learning.

There may be a time delay between what you see someone saying at a remote site and when you hear it over the audio speakers at your site. This is normal. Be prepared to ask questions if something was not clear to you. Remember, what you see is a bit different from what the other sites see. When you do have questions, please be sure the instructor or facilitator see you. Other tips worth mentioning are to maintain good eye contact, move and gesture slowly and smoothly, and to speak in a strong, clear voice.

Students enrolled in Distance Learning courses via ITV are expected to do their own work. Greater emphasis is placed on student independence and responsibility. Education is a cooperative enterprise between student and instructor, and it is important that every student has an opportunity to be evaluated fairly on the basis of his/her own performance. Incidents of academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to University policy.