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Development of a Collaborative Distance Education Laboratory

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  033061,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13852) @2003
Authors:   Chi N. Thai
Keywords:   Distance Education, Collaborative Learning, Remote Control, Video Conferencing

The nearly 300% increase in undergraduate enrollment for Fall 2002 combined with the declining number of teaching faculty in the BAE department at UGA requires innovative solutions to the instruction of students on Athens campus. We want to maintain the interactive and collaborative features of current teaching practices but also require needed help from faculty who are in Tifton and Griffin, thus distance and time are the main constraints. Based on Student Technology fees and departmental funds, the Collaborative Distance Education Laboratory was created in September 2002 to achieve this goal. This lab has 25 workstations for students and a teacher station connected to a 1.0 Gbps LAN. These PCs are equipped with specialized software to allow synchronous collaborative interactions between teacher-students and student-student for in-class projects, as well as receiving interactive classroom instructions from experts located in Griffin or Tifton via videoconferencing technologies. A total of 8 courses, involving 140 students (about 1/2 of the student enrollment), were taught in this classroom in Fall 2002 using only Athens faculty. Additionally in Spring 03, this lab was used in a limited manner for 1 graduate and 1 undergraduate course, with 1 instructor from Griffin and another one from Tifton.

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