Friday, February 15, 2008

Gateway Technology Center

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On Friday of last week I was asked to present at the Gateway Technology Center in Rocky Mount, NC about the technology tools we use in Distance Ed @ NC State. Friday was bit of a whirl for me since Evan was sick (and little did I know that I was on my way to being sick as well). But I finally made it up to their facility. Wow, was I impressed. Not only is the building nice, it is functional and professional, the people were very gracious as well. I love the idea of the Gateway Center - two colleges in the UNCGA system, NCSU & ECU have created this place to serve the underrepresented areas of the state, in this case the North East. As landgrant institutions it is important that we give back to our state. It is easy for us to help thos in our backyard, but the NE areas of our state are not surrounded by a large institution.

So the Gateway Center can act as a satellite location to help facilitate our work with this area. In this case we were showcasing the use of "cohort based distance ed" by the Two plus Two program of the College of Engineering. This program facilitates students taking two years of community college courses and then transferring to NCSU for their last two years (no comment on actually finishing in 4 years :) . They have placed instructors at specific community college locations to facilitate video conferencing between the remote site and on campus. This way they can start taking NCSU classes before they transfer to on-campus.

We were able to illustrate the use of high end video conferencing through Polycoms, as well as using Elluminate for presentations and whiteboarding. These are all synchronous learning tools that are integral to the cohort based distance ed model.

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