From home, a coffee cafe’ in Seattle or ship in the North Atlantic, students at an area university can now remotely participate live in class through any internet connection and a new combination of distance learning technologies called AnyWare.
“I think AnyWare is superior to the traditional classroom experience,” says ECPI University student Sean Kear, an electronic engineering major taking an English class via AnyWare. “There’s actually more interaction, more meaningful discussion and you don’t have to drive to school. You can attend from your computer or phone, anywhere there’s a connection.”
The AnyWare classes were launched this semester at ECPI University and available in English, physics and electronic engineering. About 60 students are currently enrolled. Gerry White, Associate Dean, Academic Technology, Department Head of Arts & Sciences at the school, developed and piloted the technology with two other faculty members, Eric Brass and Venkata Khambhammettu. Virginia Beach resident Kear joins 15 other classmates just before 8 a.m. when they link onto AnyWare. Kear previously had taken a distance learning class at another school, but left in disappointment.
“This is a new standard, we turn on the audio/video feed and the teacher and class are all right there in real time on camera,” says Kear, 32. “We can just raise our hand to participate or type into the chat box that everyone can see. There’s a white board that the teacher and students can draw on.”
White employed a host of technologies to create AnyWare, including iOS and iPads, iBooks, Google+ and Hangouts, WizIQ, UStream and several others.
This project has been a dream and goal of White’s and his associates for nearly six years.
“It is a culmination of things we’ve developed with a lot of team work,” says White, also a licensed Apple developer. “This is synchronous face-to-face interaction in real time that’s not available in most online distance learning deliveries. Students respond instantly to questions and instructors are right there to explain. I’ve found that group work and participation have been even more dynamic than a traditional in-seat course.”
White first used AnyWare last year to teach Wounded Warriors at locations away from ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus.
“I expect AnyWare to grow like wildfire,” White said. “I do not know of any other school taking it to this level. We have begun delivering a completely mobile, synchronous, interactive learning experience where location is not an issue.”
Kear agrees. “I honestly think this is where it’s going in the future,” Kear says. “I wrote a piece for class about what the technology is bringing to school. If someone can’t afford to move to another state, they will be able to remain at home and go to school. They won’t have to pay for travel or housing, and get at least as good as if not a better education than sitting in the classroom.”
About ECPI University
ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees and diploma programs. With campuses in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, ECPI, a private university established in 1966, offers convenient classes during the day, evening, and online; graduate employment services are provided. Continuing education certification classes and testing are also available.
ECPI's fields of study include:
- Cloud Computing (Bachelor's Degree)
- Database Programming (Bachelor's Degree)
- Electronics Engineering (Bachelor's Degree)
- Healthcare IT (Bachelor's Degree)
- Mechanical Engineering Technology (Bachelor's Degree)
- Mechatronics (Bachelor's Degree)
BUSINESS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
(Program field availability varies by campus.) For more information, visit http://www.ecpi.edu