ITV faculty handbook
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The Interactive Television courses at Murray State University are a tool to reach non-traditional as well as traditional students across county and university dividers. These classes give students the opportunity to experience course offerings and professors to which they normally would not have access. It also provides the faculties of Murray State University and local high schools that are equipped with ITV facilities with the chance to interact with students of various ages and backgrounds.
The technology in the Interactive Television rooms allows us to gather sound and image data and send the material via the internet or MSU’s internal network to remote sites where this information is reproduced as audio and video.
The audio information is compiled from microphones that pic up voices from the classroom and other audio sources such as the instructors computer. Visual information is provided by any of the classroom cameras, or from some other video source such as the document camera or instructors computer.
The audio and video signals must be converted from analog to digital form, compressed, and then combined into a composite signal in order to be sent over the internet. The Codec is the computer which is responsible for the coding and decoding of the signals. Audio and video information are decompressed/decoded at the remote site Codec and output through audio speakers and video monitors.
Video input may come from five different sources:
- The instructors camera
- The classroom camera
- Document camera
- Instructors computer
- Input for a laptop
Cameras one and two are used to send the video images of the instructor at the podium and the students in the classroom. The instructor's camera is the main video source at the site where he or she is teaching.
The document camera can perform several functions in the ITV classroom. It can be used much like a chalkboard, an overhead projector, slide projector, or as another camera. At remote sites the students can use the document camera to place their homework and quizzes under the camera to enable the instructor, or other class members, to give feedback or suggestions.
The document camera can function as an electronic chalkboard, and the professor may write on the document beneath the camera, and send a live image. When using the document camera the instructor can send a live graphic (where the graphic replaces the instructor video, but not the audio) or a still graphic.
Every ITV room has push-to-talk microphones. This means that the microphones are muted until a button on the microphone is pushed. Student mics in some of the older rooms and at all instructor stations will stay on until the button is pressed again. Student mics in the newer rooms will stay on only as long as the button is held down. The microphones are placed on the classroom tables and each one is shared by two students.
At the local site, audio and video information from the camera and microphones currently active are converted to a digital signal and compressed by the Codec. This information is then sent via the internet or MSU’s internal network to the remote sites where a Codec decompresses the data and, in turn, sends it to classroom speakers and television monitors.
The video signal from the current active remote site will be shown on the television monitor in the rear, as well as on the front remote site monitor. The audio is sent to the classroom speakers that have been placed in the ceiling.
The rear monitor allows the instructor to see the remote site, just as the students can, without having to turn away from the local students.
Each ITV classroom at Murray State University has access to a fax machine and copier. The rooms also have regular phone lines, allowing instructors to contact students privately during breaks, or before or after class.
Becoming familiar with the ITV classrooms and equipment is the first step, but to make an ITV class a successful venture, the instructor needs to consider some logistical issues that can make the class either rewarding or difficult. The following suggestions may help to enhance the students distance learning experience, and may seem to be common sense. Due to the distance between the remote and local sites, some problems in a normal classroom that are easily resolved can become more difficult to deal with at a distance.
Class Material Distribution
Getting materials to remote sites in a timely fashion is a critical facet of successful distance learning. This can be accomplished with careful planning.
Here are some options for class material distribution:
1. Send collated, low-security items such as homework assignments to Trevor Miller in Business Building 104A. These items should be sent four days in advance to insure they will reach the site on time. (Please keep in mind mail and school holidays.)
2. Send materials such as quizzes and exams in envelopes clearly marked "secure items inside." This alerts the remote site contact that sensitive material is enclosed and should be handled accordingly. The instructor may also wish to inform the site that these materials are en route.
3. If materials must be sent shortly before or during class, fax machines are available. If an exam is faxed, have the student worker call the remote site(s) and alert the contact that an exam is being sent. Email is also a good option to send materials quickly. Below are the email addresses for the regional campuses.
4. All materials mailed or faxed should include the following:
- Course Name and Number
- Instructor Name
- Date and Time of Class
- Any Necessary Instructions for Materials
The syllabus should include student guidelines for the ITV classroom, including attendance, student responsibilities, and a plan of action for technical difficulties or severe weather conditions.
Contacts at remote sites need to know in advance when special attention is needed for exams, quizzes, recordings of classes, class projects, and also when the instructor plans to teach at the remote site. If a visit to the remote site is canceled, the instructor should let the Trevor Miller and remote site know. Also, the site at Murray State will need special instructions in the professor's absence.
Proctoring of Exams and Quizzes
Technicians and coordinators at Murray State and contacts at remote sites are responsible for proctoring exams and quizzes, provided that they have been informed of the dates.
Instructors are expected to abide be the copyright laws of the United States. In relation to copyright use, please consider
- the use and purpose, involving whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit purposes
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- the breadth and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- the effect of the use upon the potential commercial market for or value of the copyrighted work
The instructor should include student guidelines for the ITV course in the syllabus. During the first class meeting, a minimum of 15 minutes should be used to familiarize the students with the equipment and the remaining guidelines. If a class is to be canceled, the instructor should advise the Trevor Miller or the student worker at MSU so that the remote sites and all contacts can also be notified. If the instructor should like to have office consultations via ITV before or after the scheduled class time, this can be arranged in advance through Trevor Miller. If the instructor should choose to incorporate a guest speaker from an extended site, this can also be arranged.
The local site technician or coordinator will work with the instructor to provide assistance in distributing handouts and other materials. It must not be assumed that all remote sites will be able to do so.
The coordinator or technician is the person who assists the instructor in the ITV classroom with technical requirements . This is the person who will be proctoring exams at extended sites, as well as collecting or distributing materials. The instructor should make his or her needs known to this person so they will be better able to assist.
Often, professors will use the Internet to post class instructions and information. To find information regarding general class registration, consult the Murray State University Home Page.
Access to Instructors
Often, the students involved with ITV are non-traditional students. They often work full-time and may have difficulty reaching the instructor during daily office hours. We ask instructors to make every effort in making themselves available to their students by providing flexible office hours. An e-mail address will also allow students to leave messages and ask questions which the instructor can access from the office, and often from home.
At some point in the semester, any given ITV class may encounter technical problems. Instructors should be prepared for this possibility. Should a technical issue occur, contact the technician immediately. Sources of and solutions to technical issues are much more likely to be found as the problem is manifesting itself. If the technician is not alerted until after class is finished, the problem may not be resolved. Taking a short break to allow troubleshooting is advised. Remember that all ITV classrooms are equipped with phones. The instructor or the student worker can contact the remote sites to advise them of the status of the class in most situations.