Olsen takes classes to China

Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - 5:10pm

If the students cannot come to the College of Eastern Utah, then take CEU to the students. That's the thought process behind Dr. Henning Olsen's distance learning (DL-Live Home Broadcast) accounting 2010 class that has students from Helper, Wellington, West Valley, Ferron, Orangeville, Castle Dale and Elmo registered in it.

The class is a live broadcast to the student's home. Students meet four-hours weekly in an electronic classroom. He even has a guest lecturer, Dr. Shen Shuxia, professor of accounting at Beihua University in Jilin Province, P.R. China participating in the class.

In December 2008, Olsen worked with CEU computer personnel Eric Mantz Kevin Howard and Debbie Pearson who found software that would loop his lectures via the Internet. "The nice part about this program is that it is easy to use," Howard explained.

This is the first time the class has been offered. IT support staff, Kevin Howard, who is also enrolled in the course as a facilitator, can control the audio and video from any location on campus or from home. There is a half-second delay in the audio and visual for the students.

Students listen to live lectures with visual and sound and communicate to Olsen by text and icons, which appear on his computer screen. The students and instructor can see the PowerPoint presentations and slides simultaneously.

If a student cannot be in the class when it meets, all lectures are recorded and posted on Blackboard, a course management system available to students. They are given a student ID and password to access the program on CEU's website.

Olsen said the class requires a good working computer with good RAM and Internet browsing software. Students should have, Quicktime7 and Microsoft Office software also installed on their computers for the program to function correctly. Assignments are prepared using Excel spreadsheets that are submitted over the Internet.

Tests are given in Blackboard and in pre-approved area testing centers so students do not have to travel far, he said.

Olsen feels this method of instruction has the potential of giving the instructor even greater control over the lecture and one-on-one attention to students. "I can throw up a slide right in front of them and immediately address questions from the students."

He also thinks this type of class is not for every student. Students must be willing to work in a computer environment with downloads. Assignments are prepared in worksheets that are linked in Excel. The course is also designed for those who work full time or for many reasons cannot attend traditional classes, which includes having small children at home. However, since students are being raised in an environment where iPods and texting it is way of life, this form of instruction cannot be overlooked.

And as for China, they are 15 hours ahead of us and perhaps because of computer blocks China has in place, it takes about a minute to broadcast half way around the world and back with both sound and video arriving at the same time. But as Olsen says it, "If I can broadcast to a Chinese home computer, think of the possibilities."

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