Online education continues to go high tech

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Angie Rateike is a full time kindergarten teacher, mom and wife who lives in McKinney. She's also going after her masters from SFA in Nacogdoches thanks to online education.

"Here are the assessments that I have completed," Rateike said while pointing to her course line home page. "Down in the blue, shows me the next assessment I need to complete and it's very easy."

Rateike is referring to the technology, not necessarily the course work. Blackboard, an online education company, strives to keep the education technology basic, but still on the cutting edge.

"A more user friendly experience and a more interactive experience, I think, are the two things to keep in mind," James Werner, Blackboard regional manager for Texas said.

This is a bonus for online instructors who are learning some of this stuff for the first time.

"Our students understand all this technology as if it was just nothing to them," Dr. Linda Bond, a certified online instructor notes. "So it's important to us to be as smart about it as they are."

When everyone gets on the same page is when the fun can begin.

"We have your flash card that kind of gives you your term and definition and shows you a nice full flash interface here and you can kind of flip it over for the answer," Nick Labonda said as he demonstrated his software.

There are also games, similar to Jeopardy, or links with major news networks to provide students a modern 'current event' avenue.

"A faculty member may like to change the look and feel of it so he would just grab at a glance move it over here, take the announcements area and move it over here," Werner says while showing off the flexibility of arranging a course site.

Studies show learning is enhanced when online instruction is combined with some face to face contact with the professor. Over the miles, videos serve that purpose, but now Angie Rateike meets her professor one on one. She's receiving the best of two education worlds.

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