Batavia, NY- Can’t make it to class? Some students at Genesee Community College can still attend—virtually. The College is piloting the use of The 360° Learning Option Model, an interactive learning delivery method that expands the ways students engage in classroom learning. It’s more than an online course.
Every class utilizing the 360° Learning Option is offered in-person in a campus classroom or laboratory. But students can also tap into the class via their desktop, laptop, smartphone or iPad thanks to videoconferencing service WebEx. “It makes the instruction more flexible,” said assistant professor James Bucki, director of Information Technology Programs at GCC. “Students have the ability to learn anytime, anywhere, on any device – hence 360° Learning.” Bucki and two other instructors, Robert Swinarski and James Habermas, have been piloting 360° Learning in their fall semester classes and plan to offer the option with many spring courses as well. Registration for Spring 2015 is going on now. Classes begin January 12, 2015. A complete class schedule is available online at http://www.genesee.edu/courses/schedule/.
Utilizing WebEx allows the instructor to share his/her entire desktop, specific documents or applications with everyone attending the class in-person and in the e-classroom environment. Remote students can raise their hands and participate in discussions and answer questions just as if they were physically sitting in the classroom. All interaction is recorded and stored in the cloud so students who could not attend during the normal class time can view it later, or students can review the material covered to reinforce retention.
GCC has also been approved by Google to participate in the Google Glass Explorer Program. “Wearing Google Glass, the instructor can work unencumbered while broadcasting his/her lab demonstration to remote students as well as in-person students,” Bucki said. (see photos)
The 360° Learning Model can be adapted to meet the needs of a variety of learners. Bucki says the pilot program has produced successful results with visual, logical, oral, verbal and physical learning styles. In addition, WebEx offers accommodations to meet the requirements of special needs students.
The classes have been well-received by students. Erica Parker, 19, a Computer Systems and Network Technologies (CSN) student describes herself as someone who learns best in class. “But this is pretty much like having an in class experience even though you’re not in class.” The flexibility of 360° Learning allowed her to take a theatre class which was scheduled at the same time as one of her computer courses.
“Our goal by Fall 2015 is to offer all CSN and CIS (Computer Information Systems) classes with the 360° Learning Option,” said Bucki.
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A photograph of a GCC instructor utilizing the Google Glasses in a 360° learning class is available here: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/GCC360Learning.jpg
Caption: Associate Prof. Marina Cappellino instructs students through a repair procedure utilizing
A photograph of a student at a remote location taking a class via 360° Learning is available here:
Caption: Erica Parker attends this class session remotely via 360° Learning.