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Concealed ITV Class Causes Complaints

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Title: Concealed ITV Class Causes Complaints
Author: Rob Miley
Date: 8/30/02

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 students.

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 instructor.

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 negatives.


 

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