Teaching A Different Kind of Distance: Teaching History through an IVC Broadcast System

AHA Session 77
Friday, January 6, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Governor's Square 15 (Sheraton Denver Downtown, Plaza Building Concourse Level)
Susan Rhoades Neel, Utah State University
The Audience

Session Abstract

The term “distance education” is often used to mean instruction delivered online through the internet.  But another form of distance education gaining increased attention is IVC broadcast instruction.  In this format students and teachers in distant locations meet for interactive, synchronous class sessions utilizing live audio and video.  In their recent book on IVC broadcast education, Alan Blackstock and Nathan Straight note that “We have all witnessed the power of education to connect individuals from diverse backgrounds, improve lives, and strengthen communities; distance education extends those connections in ways that were previously unimaginable by connecting our classrooms—wherever they may be—to the promise of higher education.” [1]

IVC broadcast is the principle form of instruction in Utah State University’s regional campus system.[2]  USU operates 21 regional education centers serving more than 12,000 students throughout the state and on the Ute and Navajo Reservations.  The bachelor’s degree in history has been offered through USU’s regional campus system for ten years.  History is one of only two humanities degrees available in the system.  As is true at most institutions, the USU Department of History also serves the needs of a general education program as well as the disciplinary major.  The IVC broadcast format, therefore, serves a wide range of students from those seeking an associate’s degree, to lower and upper division general education students, to history majors, including those pursuing careers as secondary education teachers.

This session will address the particular challenges and opportunities of teaching history in IVC broadcast format, focusing on the utilization of digital tools to cultivate engagement, community, and active learning among students who are separated by geographic distance.  Our conclusion is that these tools can enhance the learning experience of students in all instructional formats, including traditional face-to-face settings.  We are particularly enthusiastic about the ability to teach humanities disciplines, including history, in broadcast format.  By providing creative, engaging instruction in history, IVC broadcast can be an effective mechanism for securing the role of the humanities in a higher education system reaching out to wider and more dispersed students in American society.   This session should be of interest to faculty teaching in any of these formats and to those who may find their institutions considering the introduction or expansion of IVC broadcast instruction.  Each presentation in this session will offer specific examples of teaching practices.               

[1] Alan Blackstock and Nathan Straight, eds., Interdisciplinary Approaches to Distance Teaching: Connecting Classrooms in Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2016; Kindle edition).

[2]  Utah State University also offers many courses in an online format.  Faculty in USU’s regional campus system teach courses in traditional face-to-face formats, online, and IVC broadcast.

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