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East Carolina University September 27, 2006 Distance Education Where We Have Been Where We Are Where We Are Going Biwu Yang Providing opportunities to time and place bound students Distance Education Legacy Culture at ECU is serving students 1/3 of state with dispersed population

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East Carolina University

September 27, 2006

Distance Education

Where We Have Been

Where We Are

Where We Are Going

Biwu Yang

Providing opportunities to time and place bound students

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Distance Education Legacy

  • Culture at ECU is serving students

  • 1/3 of state with dispersed population

  • ECU began Distance Ed in 1947

  • Evenings, Weekends, TV courses

  • Internet technologies opened up the East

  • Full funding makes it possible to serve

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The Typical DE Student

  • 35 years old, working, 2 children at home

  • Pursuing degree for economic reasons

  • Chooses DE as only possibility for college

  • Can manage 1 or 2 classes each semester

  • 2/3 live east of I-95 & attended NC CC’s

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DE Students by County

  • DE is no longer site based/site bound

  • DE has no digital divide – local libraries, community centers, CC’s

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DE and our Military

  • 100,000 + Active duty, National Guard, Reserve

    • $10 billion plus impact in NC

    • UNC is an important factor

    • Many will retire in NC

    • Troops to Teachers is growing

    • 600 + soldier enrollments

  • Many troops are deployed

    • DE programs ‘go with’ the troops

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DE Programs – Not Courses at ECU

  • Programs chosen to meet state needs

  • 57 degrees, certificates, licensures

  • 47 entirely on line, 10 with some face to face

  • Emphases: teacher education, nursing, economic development. 81% of SCH

  • Entirely online ~ with the help of the CC’s

  • Proposed programs carefully considered

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DE Collaboration

  • University Partnerships

    • German Studies, Nursing, Gerontology

  • Community College Partnerships

    • BS completion with NC CC’s

    • Wachovia Project East – a 3 way partnership

      • Wachovia + CC’s + ECU = teachers in the East

    • CC faculty prepared via DE

    • 2/3 of DE students attended NC CC

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Educational Environment at ECU

  • DE programs are the on-campus programs

  • Same courses, requirements, standards

  • DE created positions allocated to programs

    • DE faculty are full time tenure track with mixed loads

    • DE faculty profile and expectations the same

  • DE is not extension education at ECU

  • Backwash onto campus courses - 1100 of 1600 faculty use DE based components in f2f courses

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Quality of DE at ECU

  • Same faculty, courses, requirements, standards

  • SREB & FacSen statements are standards

  • SACS accreditation examined DE = OK+

  • Professional accreditations examined DE = OK+

  • Licensure rates the same for DE & on-campus

  • SOIS indicates DE students more satisfied

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DE Student Services

Prospective student readiness counseling

Catalog / Financial aid / Admissions

Academic advising / Schedules / Bookstore

Library services /Online writing center /

Disability Support / Placement Center

Help desk & 800 number / Student Counseling

Courses / Instructors / Other Students

Grades / Transcripts

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DE Enrollment at ECU

  • Need + ECU Culture + Technology + Funding

  • Growth in areas of need: Ed, Nursing, Econ

  • DE students would not attend on campus

  • On-campus students have other opportunities

  • 20% of our students and SCH are DE

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The Cost of DE

  • DE is as or more expensive than face to face

    • National, UNC, and ECU studies agree

    • NSF nationally proven model for calculations

    • Model accounts for building & other costs

    • Use of full time faculty & course design/maintain

  • Educating the underserved builds NC

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UNC DE Good for the System

  • A single online library for all DE students

  • A UNC Center for Best DE Practices

  • A portal for military students

  • Simplified course/credit/tuition transfer

  • Large sections taught across campuses

  • Internationalize with technology

    • Global Understanding/Internationalization

    • Off model programs to the world

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Academic Outreach Office

The mission of our Academic Outreach Office

“Our office extends educational opportunities, through a variety of learning options, to  students in non-traditional formats.”


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AO Services

  • Blackboard and Learning Platform

  • Continuing Studies

  • Global Academic Initiatives

  • International Affairs

  • Military Programs

  • Technology Advancement Center

  • University Media Center

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Technologies Supporting DE

  • Various technologies have been explored to make DE success

  • Key technologies focus on

    • Course Management

    • Interactive Tools

    • Collaboration

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Course Management

Currently we use Blackboard


  • Store course contents

  • Tests/quizzes/Grades

  • This semester, 2190 course sites, comprise 2860 sections

  • 2000 instructors

  • 72630 enrollment seats

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Interaction Tools

Asynchronous Tools

  • Blackboard discussion board

  • Email

  • Mailing list server


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Interaction Tools - cont

Synchronous tools:

  • Centra (hosted service)


  • IRC Chat (we manage the server)

    • For class or virtual office hour

  • Yahoo groups

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Pilot Projects

Research, evaluate, test, and deploy new tools that will enhance the DE classes effectively

  • Identify the needs (from faculty/staff)

  • Search for good/best solutions

  • Evaluate/test new tools

  • Involve faculty in the evaluation process

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A wiki tool


  • Provides collaboration environment

  • For group projects, research projects, papers, etc.

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An Open Source CMS


  • We are not replacing Blackboard, rather we provide faculty with options

  • Unique features and benefits

  • It is open source, so we can change its features and operation

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Journal System

  • This is requested from faculty in the College of Education

  • An open source solution to electronically manage the submission, review, and publishing processes


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Some Other Projects

  • Videoconferencing technology

  • Vignettes

  • Social Presence for DE

  • Best practice for Discussion Board

  • Teaching with Technology – Think-In

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Provides monthly “Teaching with Technology” newsletter


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Thank you…..Questions?

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ECU English Department