Distance education is defined in many different ways and New River has created definitions to clarify our Instructional Methods. This document explains these definitions and expands on the information available in the Course Catalog and the Course Schedule. These definitions went into effect for the Spring 2014 term (201402) which began in January 2014.
New River CTC extends course offerings beyond the traditional face-to-face (F2F) classroom to accommodate students who desire flexible schedules and to overcome geographic constraints that might prevent a student from enrolling in our traditional F2F courses. These "distance learning" courses are offered in a variety of delivery formats (instructional methods) which are explained on this page.
When students register for any distance education course they should receive an introductory letter for students explaining how to get started. We also have an introductory letter for instructors.
The Information Technology Services staff provides hands-on orientation experiences to new students who attend New Student Orientation and we have worked with the Admissions office to implement an online orientation option for all students. The information provided during orientation is crucial to a new student's academic success, so completing the orientation ensures that all students are able to obtain this very important information.
Instructional Methods for Distance Education
New River developed entirely new definitions for distance learning that went into effect for the Spring 2014 academic term. These definitions are helpful to students, instructors, and administrators because they provide a clear explanation of how courses are actually delivered using various instructional methods and simple percentages for the extent that distance learning is being used.
In the past, our course schedules would simply have ANGEL or IVN listed as the Instructional Method, but students registering for these courses might expect 100% of the course to be online while the instructor had entirely different expectations that could include some in-class meetings. And as administrators often submit reports regarding our distance learning offerings, the reports were inaccurate as a result of these multiple interpretations of our definitions for Instructional Method. These new definitions clarify all current forms of Instructional Method. Please see our description of instructional methods for a complete explanation of them. The Instructional Method is provided on the current course schedule in the column named IM.
New River offers distance learning courses as either web-based or video-based instruction. Web-based courses are available through Blackboard Learn and video-based courses are available through our Interactive Video Network or IVN, which now uses Zoom to manage conferences. Even traditional face-to-face (TRAD) courses now use some online tools as all instructors are required to publish a syllabus in the course management system (Blackboard) and grades are done using Self-Service Banner. Instructors track attendance using DropGuard and Zoom has recently been implemented as our solution for both videoconferncing and instant messaging.
In 2013-2014, the Distance Education Advisory Committee provided oversight for distance education initiatives at New River. This oversight is now provided by the Academic Deans and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Training and Information for IVN (Zoom) and Blackboard Learn
We provide a brief workshop for IVN instructors (ITS 107: Teaching with Videoconferencing) and the information is also helpful for students. We also have an instructor workshop for teaching with Blackboard Learn (ITS 100: Teaching with Blackboard), as well as a number of other workshops.