You are here

Distance Learning

Recently, McGraw-Hill Higher Education issued a white paper, “The Tipping Point in Development Education” stating that adaptive learning technology in higher education can bridge remedial education gaps.

The report noted that technology-enabled developmental education programs that are designed specifically for underprepared students entering or returning to college can improve educational and other outcomes. These benefits can include increased retention and completion rates, a more accelerated and efficient process for students bound for college, and greater affordability.

Big Bend Community College (Wash.)

  • Using: Mediasite by Sonic Foundry

  • Started using lecture capture: 2007

  • Classes: Pre-college level math and English

California Community Colleges

  • Using: Blackboard Collaborate

  • Started using lecture capture: 2002 (upgrades in 2005 and 2012)

  • Classes: Basic skills (including ESL,tutoring, and writing labs)

Students enrolled in remedial courses at Holmes Community College seem to be sticking it out in those courses, and the use of lecture capture may well be a big factor in why. Photo: Courtney Lange / Holmes Community College Staff Writer/Photographer

Boosting success for students in remedial education is crucial, particularly given the readiness gap seen at some community colleges. A recent report from McGraw-Hill Higher Education showed that despite receiving a high school diploma, at least 75 percent of first-year students at community colleges aren’t college-ready. And the number of students dropping out during their first year of college continues to rise. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including financial difficulties.

At Pitt Community College (N.C.), online learning is about more than just putting in-person course content onto the web. Officials have created a system that emphasizes preparation for students and instructors. The institution will even be launching a certification program for professors wanting to enhance their online teaching skills. “We don’t want online courses to be a barrier to success in any way, for anyone,” says Don Hazelwood, director of instructional technology and distance education. “We all have to work together.” Despite efforts such as these, barriers are common.


Imagine being a student in a class listening to your professor as she writes on a whiteboard at the front of the room. She asks a question and you faintly hear a voice, but you can’t see who it came from or understand what was said—because you’re sitting at your desk participating in class through your webcam.

The success of online education giant University of Phoenix has inspired a host of web-based higher learning and career training institutions. And while this increase is indicative of a growing demand for remote learning options, it also makes delivering the right student to the right school more challenging. Generating leads for the sake of generating leads is an inefficient customer acquisition strategy.

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

The word “class” really doesn’t do justice to what medical students attend in the newly renovated lecture theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

“It’s a production, which is so much better,” said Ed Hipditch, manager of classroom technologies with Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) department. “Students walk in and say ‘Wow!’ ­The wow factor is important when educating someone. It’s not just someone scribbling on a chalkboard.” ­

Students love lecture capture. Also enamored are administrators and faculty with active systems. Surveys and data collected from various institutions have shown it improves engagement and student outcomes. Just one example: Of first year medical students involved in the Mediasite pilot program at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, 88 percent agreed the system helped them achieve their educational goals.

When H1N1 made its way to the mountains of northwestern Vermont two years ago, the technology experts at Saint Michael's College were concerned students or teachers might not make it to class. The virus didn't reach epidemic proportions at the small Catholic college, but it energized the team already considering ways to bring lessons beyond the classroom.