2008-08-06 / Front Page

NSCC To Offer Live Internet Classes

A technology Northwest State Community College uses for business and industry training will move to the academic side.

Known as "synchronous distance learning," the technology involves a teacher in one location working with students at distant locations, with the ability to see and talk to each other.

The college will offer synchronous distance learning classes with the coming semester. Classes start Wednesday, Aug. 20.

NSCC officials demonstrated the capability at a press conference, Thursday, July 31.

Reporters from area newspapers and electronic media were sent to three separate rooms. Each room was equipped with a video screen, a "smart board," microphones, and video cameras.

Projected onto the wall of one room was a video display depicting each of the rooms at NSCC, plus a teacher at the Metamora branch. All could see and hear one another.

Additionally, through the smart board, a teacher can show a computer screen or write notes. Students can write on the board, and all locations can see the writing.

Purpose

Mari Yoder, vice president of institutional development at NSCC, said the system will allow students to attend some of their classes within minutes of their home.

Centers have been established in Bryan, Defiance, Ottawa, Metamora, and Van Wert.

Students can drive to one of the centers rather driving to the NSCC campus at the intersection of St. Rts. 66 and 34.

That saves students time and gasoline.

She said if a class only has three or four students registered at the college, it is not fi- nancially feasible to offer it.

However, if there are three to four others at each remote site, there's enough to make it feasible.

The program is so new college officials aren't sure what classes will be offered, but the distance learning sites are open 8 am to 9:30 pm.

Business

Tom Wylie, vice president of workforce development, also is the director of Custom Training Solutions, a division of NSCC.

For several years, the college has been conducting training for industry, using the synchronous distance learning system also known as telepresence.

Using the Internet and its capabilities, companies can conduct training sessions for employees across the nation- even across the world- without expensive, time-consuming travel.

CTS has worked with General Mills, Rolls Royce, and others to offer training through synchronous distance learning.

Need

Northwest State officials reiterated a point they have made several times. Jobs of the future will require education beyond high school, and Ohio, like many Midwestern states, are lagging.

Yoder said only 17% to 18% of the Northwest Ohio workforce has education beyond high school.

"New jobs, utilizing new technology, can't move here, because we don't have the educated workforce," she said.

Northwest State, with synchronous distance learning, will help change that.

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