Local News

Online Classes Go High-Tech At N.C. State

Posted August 17, 2006

— North Carolina State University is launching a new, more powerful version of online classes.

Starting this semester, some N.C. State professors will lecture in front of a camera in a small studio, recording their lectures and using a digital chalkboard. Students can get the lecture just by logging onto the Internet at whatever time they choose.

"May do two to three lectures at a time or they may do it one at a time," said Tom Miller with N.C. State's Department of Distance Learning.

Also, students don't have to rely only on their computer screen to get their lesson. They can also get it on their iPod or any other MP3 player.

"It's for a lecture that you mainly need to listen to," said Laura Stephenson with N.C. State's College of Engineering.

Online classes have been offered for years, but they only allowed students to see one image at a time -- the professor or the notes. Now, students will see both at the same time. Also, professors can track when students log on to view the lectures.

There were 8,000 students last academic year in NC State's Distance Learning Program, and it's growing 30 percent annually. Around 40 percent of the students are traditional on-campus students.

"Some students say they just learn better this way," said Miller. "They have a chance to go through the material at their own pace, skip past things they understand well and concentrate on the things they don't understand."

But online learning is not for everyone.

"I personally don't prefer being a distance education student, because I can't get motivated to watch a lecture completely at home," said engineering student Azeem Ansari.

But students who do like online learning now have more options than ever to get their lessons when they want, where they want and how they want.


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