Lutsk LIberal Arts University Hosts Distance Education Class in Convergence

Lutsk Liberal Arts University and the Cypress College Journalism Department have created a working partnership.

Robert R. Mercer, department chair, is currently teaching a weekly distance education class in convergence journalism at the invitation of Vice Rector Larissa Nizhegorodtseva. The class is a reprise of his fall 2007 class that he taught on the LLAU campus.

James Mosher, economics professor at LLAU and a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer gives the class technical support. He also obtained a significant Peace Corps grant that bought the equipment used on campus.

The class has 11 students who meet for a weekly half-hour, live video lecture using Skype. They also exchange work with the instructor using email. Separate, scripted PowerPoint lectures are emailed to the students to read at their own pace as part of the students' English Language education. The class is conducted in English. English is a required subject at LLAU.

Skype teleconferencing has many advantages over asynchronous Blackboard style classes. The instructor can see the students as the lecture is delivered. In this bi-cultural situation, students can immediately tell the instructor they do not understand. The instructor can change his delivery. Skype teleconferencing is very intense work for the instructor and the student. That is why the lecture is limited to 30 minutes. The result is more focused presentations.

LLAU and Cypress College have learned technical support is very important to successful classes. Having a technician set up and test the links prior to starting the class is as important as having the technician nearby during the class. Journalism Mashup will modify its Successful Teleconferencing guidelines on this site. The virtual classes are an educational process for everyone involved.

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