Title: Concealed ITV Class Causes Complaints
Author: Rob Miley
If you are planning on taking an ITV class, or any class at UMSL for
that matter, prepare for an intolerable burden.
First, I should qualify my argument by stating the specific class I encountered.
The Fall 2002 Management and Organizational Behavior class section
#35390 scheduled in room 102 of the South Campus Computer Building
is the class I am referring to in this article.
My first criticism is the fact that the class was concealed as an ITV
course. If one, as I did, signed up online mid-summer then that person
would have no idea that the class would be televised. Furthermore,
at the time of this writing the UMSL online class schedule has two
different listings for the BA 210 Thursday evening class: #35390,
the class I signed up for, and #70170, presumably another class.
But, there is the catch. The classes ended up being linked together with
the #70170 class at St. Charles Community College. (Although, I should
mention that the paperback Fall courses schedule seems to be in order.
But, who needs those when you have the Internet?)
A further complaint about this course is all of the distractions it encompasses.
Being an ITV class, it will obviously have cameras for both classrooms.
A constantly swiveling camera in front of the classroom distracts
students as much as the big screen T.V. with the returning feed and
a larger version of it on the overhead screen. Of course, it wouldn't
be complete without the overhead switching back and forth from the
feed to what the instructor is putting on the overhead to show the
More problems arise from the televised feed by having an echo of what
the instructor says if the other class has their microphone on. The
only way to curb the echo is to have the other class mute their microphone
until they want to speak. This causes a problem for those students
for when they can get to participate in the class discussions.
Along with the microphone issue for the St. Charles class is the microphone
issue for the UMSL class. Every time a student wants to speak they
have to press a button or risk being yelled at by the other class
and the teacher. Not only does this burden force students to not
want to orally participate, but also the button itself causes a usability
issue. One does not totally know that the microphone is on unless
they press really hard to make sure the light comes on. Did I forget
to mention that you have to continue to hold it when you are speaking
and not just pressing it once to turn on and then once to turn off?
Since the course is (now) an ITV class it is scheduled in a computer lab.
Normally this would not be a problem, but instead of taking notes
with a pencil and paper a few students opt to type the notes. How
distracting, and annoying, is hearing the "tick, tick, tick"
of the keyboard while a student is trying to pay attention to the
One final set back to this farce of a class is the technical guru that
runs the ITV part of the class. The distraction this guy puts on
is more or less a class in itself. Answering telephones, making calls,
and talking with visitors after they walk through the class are just
a few of the rude exploits of this one individual.
All of these problems are seemingly avoidable if the 5 individuals who
were in St. Charles would just drive the 20 miles to go to UMSL.
That's right! Our super technical intrusive set up is all for the
benefit for a handful of individuals barely in another area code.
With so many con's against this type of learning I can't help but think
that this will actually hurt the value of an UMSL education. If the
only reason that this class was forged together was to cut costs
then I think that there should be another look at the positives and