Tuesday, June 27, 2017
A Natural Experiment
Regarding the college in NW PA, I know that area as the land of hunting camps and summer beach trips, so I can understand the challenges they face with getting even a CC education locally. It is a very low density rural area. Interactive TV classrooms are a very plausible option, especially if you have live faculty at each of the sites so everyone gets a chance to have a live-in-person class and f2f advising.
If it is like the system I have seen, it has been around for several decades and works pretty smoothly if you have a dedicated line between the sites. The quality is much better than streaming video. The instructor can see all of the classrooms and there is 2-way audio available for Q&A or student presentations, but the audio is not on all the time so a restless student doesn't disrupt everyone. It takes some getting used to, some sort of ice breaker so everyone sees how it works, but it could be superior to a really large classroom because there is a protocol for each remote small group to reach out to wherever the instructor is located with the in-person small group.
It really does strike me as a 50th anniversary repeat of what must have happened in Florida, when an entire system of CCs was created from scratch. Although there were a handful of junior colleges, they were segregated so even the existing ones had to be reinvented as integrated colleges. Many CCs were created in what must have been a crazy experiment at the time: the exclusive source for the first 2 years of college for students who wanted to attend the new upper-division-only universities like FAU as juniors. I think that is what made the strong articulation possible, because it was necessary! Only this college can do it with hindsight as well the kind of ed research platform you envision. Active learning done live on TV with groups of groups in different places? I like it.
But first they have to decide if it is intended as the first 2 years, with workforce goals met by a 4-year degree, or as the only 2 years, with terminal degrees. If the former, they need a transfer target school(s) and articulate with them from day 1. Pathways from the very start! In an ideal world, they could even use interactive TV to allow groups of their students to take classes as transient students at a university for niche majors where they can't offer the class.
Fast and Furious 8
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