Terms and Technology
Here are a few definitions to help you to better understand distance learning:
- Distance Education
- Distance Education is a method by which students may take college courses without actually traveling to a university. Distance Education is growing each year. At the moment, not only courses are available but entire degree programs through University college (UC). Courses originate at each of the seven University of Maine campuses; therefore, all courses are accredited and transferable. Distance-education courses may be delivered to you in several ways, which are explained below.
- Interactive Television (ITV)
- ITV courses are broadcast from one location and viewed on a television at the various ITV course-receive locations. Students at each "receive site" view the professor during the lecture. Interaction between the professor and students at the "receive sites" is via telephone by dialing an 800 number. Classes are held at a set time, and those times can range from early morning, throughout the day and into the evening. All ITV courses are recorded and these recordings are available to students online through BlackBoard. Even though the classes are recorded, some professors still may require attendance during class time, while others may allow the "delayed viewing" option. Currently there are over 45 sites throughout Maine capable of receiving ITV classes.
- Compressed Video (CV)
- polysCV has two-way audio and two-way video capabilities, which eliminates the need of telephone interaction. Also known as PolyCom or Tandberg, CV classes take place in real time. Although some CV classes are recorded, the delayed-viewing option may not be available with CV. However, as with ITV, many classes are available in the evenings. CV classes are received at over 45 locations throughout the State of Maine.
- Internet, Asynchronous, or Web-Based Courses are reshaping the way we learn. Instead of meeting at a set time and place, you can set your own course schedule. Courses are delivered entirely online and require computer and high-speed internet access. Online classes are referred to as "asynchronous" because they do not have a set daily class meeting time as with ITV or CV. Participants should be aware that asynchronous does not indicate self-paced. Online courses may include streaming video and/or audio technology, enabling students to view and/or listen to the class on a multimedia PC connected to the web.
- You may see days/times for Online classes listed as asynchronous. "Asynchronous" means that you and your classmates may all be doing classwork at different times rather than all together in the same class meeting. The advantage of Online delivery is that you can participate when you wish, while observing the set course-work deadlines. You do not need to be in a classroom at a specific time. For those who have families and outside employment, this means greater access to courses and to education in general.For further information on how to get started and to view UMM's complete list of distance education offerings, please visit our Distance Education courses page at http://machias.edu/available-courses-online.htmlFor a complete listing of all the UC distance offerings, please visit http://www.learn.maine.edu.
- Ready for the Web? If you're unsure about enrolling in online courses, take this self-exam quiz at http://courseguide.unet.maine.edu/survey/survey-internet.asp
Before you can enroll in some courses, you must have completed other courses (prerequisites) or placement tests. Placement testing is available free of charge at all University College Centers and selected Maine sites.
ITV and online courses are fully accredited college courses. Tuition is charged by the campus offering the course at the same rate as traditional courses. Fees are charged for various services.
Taking courses over the internet allows you a more-flexible schedule. While the courses demand exactly the same amount of work and learning as regular, on-site classes, the way you participate and the way you arrange your learning is quite different.
Often an internet course is very intimidating at first. Fortunately, most people find that navigating through these courses via the web is not so difficult once you get started. As in every other class you take, asking questions will help a great deal.
Though having some experience with a computer and the internet will be helpful, many students are successful without much previous experience. Your attitude and energy will make the difference.