TYLER (KYTX) The technology we use is forever evolving. That goes for day to day life, and also...inside the classroom. Over the years, online classes have gotten popular, but one east Texas university is taking internet class to a whole new level.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains how UT Tyler's virtual class is in session in the US and overseas.
For the past semester, students at UT Tyler have been able to use a virtual class room. A specialized software system allows students to virtually sit in a class room, ask questions, and share and annotate documents: All in real time.
The system was brought to UT Tyler to accommodate students living in different Texas cities, states and now a student living out of the country.
Education sitting in a classroom, listening to the instructor, could be turning into the old way of learning.
"You're holding a conversation you can exchange ideas, even though I'm half a world away, you really don't' feel you're half a world away," said Royce Staley. He os a UT Tyler Graduate student, who works as a health administrator on an army base in Germany. But with the aid of the special software "Zoom", he's able to virtually attend class.
"Ten years ago I would have not been in this program.I would have had to drop out and pursued a different avenue in order to get my masters degree," Staley said.
The program was first introduced to the Health Administrative department this past summer as a test. The program was implemented during the fall semester. Staley had been living in New Braunfels before he moved to Germany, where he just kept using the program.
"What technology has allows us to do is make the program accessible from where ever you are. It's as close as being face to face, and as close to being in the same room as possible," said Vice president of academic innovation and student success Dr. Scott Marzelli.
Here's how the technology works. Up to 24 people can be in one class at a time.
"The professor is in Mississippi, a student in Germany and students stretched from below Houston to above Dallas and over to San Antonio and we really spread it out and had great success with it," said Exec. Healthcare Administration Program director Dr. Gordon Whyte.
In real time, if you have a question raise your hand, trade notes, share documents with your class mates, need feedback, and have your professor look at your work.
Since the programs debut, several departments are taking advantage of it. More than 500 users are checking it out now.