This past Summer, I was able to sit down with a very interesting person from the world of Educational Technology. Dan Hahn, an Instructional Designer from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, described how his school transformed one of their classrooms to amplify the effect of Blackboard Collaborate! After his speech, I caught up with Dan for a few minutes to hear his thoughts on where Education is going and what role online courses would play in it.
Starting off, I just heard some interesting commentary from you, concerning Blackboard Collaborate, and something about a live studio that you use it through on your campus? Could you start off with your name, your institution and a little something about the studio?
Yeah, I have worked for the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (for 8 years). The live studio I was talking about was a teaching studio for the College of Business. They have an online only, masters iMBA program. And they've dedicated teaching studios (to it), that they run their program from.
Is the setup substantially different from an average classroom?
Well, it’s got all of your AV equipment in there. Hi-def cameras and multiple screens so the teacher can lecture and interact with students.
To my knowledge, it’s exclusively online.
Is this the first studio of its kind on your campus?
You know, since I have been around campus, it’s the first teaching studio like it that I’ve seen. Since I started at the university, way back in 2009, we had dedicated teaching studios with what then was called Elluminate. Not nearly as sophisticated as the current studio. Those didn’t have webcams or AV equipment. Those were just a couple computers in a room with headsets. So, it’s really taking it to the next level.
And have you noticed an uptick in educational technology software that kind of correlates with the implementation of studios like this?
Well, I think it just speaks to the trend of expanding online programs. Online only is currently a big thing.
Oh yeah, a complementary role.
Departments who can, will invest in it, as they see appropriate, (and) as their programs grow.
This seems like something a lot of schools will be adopting, but my question to you, is “What do you see the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign picking up going forward?” How do you think distance learning is going to change in the coming years (for such an advanced school)?
I think the hybrid model is going to (accelerate in growth). Our campus is investing a lot in smart classrooms. Giving students the option to either join online or come in person, and then having those in-class students be able to interact with the students online and vice versa.
Interesting! Okay ending with something light, do you have a favorite quote or moment from New Orleans you want to share?
I really liked today’s keynote. I thought she was really inspirational!
Well thank you Dan! With such advanced approached to online courses, University of Illinois Urbana Champlain seems pretty darn inspirational as well. Thanks for taking the time to fill our readers in and would love to hear where Illinois Urbana Champaign’s hybrid courses are come Bbworld18!