Iowa has become a leader in the field of distance learning. The Iowa City Press-Citizen brings word of The University of Iowa's implementation of cutting-edge distance learning technology. "Advances in technology are helping expand and improve the quality of distance education in Iowa," the article reports.
Today, the virtual distance education classroom includes automatic voice-and motion-activated 360-degree or double-mount video camera, and software that presents visual, audio, slideshow presentations, real-time instructor notes and personal space for student notes on the student's desktop computer screen.
Some of the university's classrooms have about $25,000 worth of technology in them. The article goes on to report that the university has a $150,000 budget for in-classroom technology for distance education.
The University of Iowa (UI) is reaping great rewards for its interest in distance learning technology. It offered the most distance education classes ever this past fall semester -- 282 to be exact -- which represents the highest enrollment in its history of offering such courses. In fact, enrollment in distance education at UI has increased by 200 percent in the last five years.
The article ends by reporting that "[n]ext fall, UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa will be collaborating on a pilot program in which classes based at one school will be available to students at the other. Nine classes will be offered."
And UI is not the only school to implement new distance learning technology. Lewis-Clark State College has rung in the New Year with the pilot launch of Blackboard Learn for the Spring 2011 semester; some seventeen faculty members will teach 23 sections using this particular platform. The university hopes that by spring of 2012 all courses with online components will be delivered using Blackboard Learn.
Universities across the country are blazing bold new educational trails with distance learning technology. The positive response to these innovations should spur on future growth in the field of distance learning.