Taking Distance Education Classes
IP-based Interactive Video Conferencing
- IVC Information for Site Facilitators
- IVC Information for Site Administrators
Using the Distance Education Catalog
- IVC Information for Site Counselors / Coordinators
Taking Distance Education Classes
What is distance education? And is it for me?
Distance education is a solution for people who may not be able to find a needed class at institution (i.e., high school or college) that you are attending. If you are self-directed, organized, and able to take full responsibility for your education, you may very well be successful taking classes at a distance. Still not sure? Take a distance education self-test. Want to explore distance delivered course offerings? Search the UEN Distance Education Catalog.
Can I get a degree while in high school?
Yes. For further information, read about Utah’s New Century School Scholarship.
What's a typical distance learning class like?
There is no such thing as a typical distance learning class. The best way to answer this question is to talk about what distance or technology delivered classes have in common with campus classes: syllabi, textbooks, lectures, and coursework including exams. With distance delivered classes, lectures could be delivered as text and/or audio files on the internet, on a videotape, or a CD. Taking exams may involve finding an appropriate proctor, if you live far from the provider school. And you have to plan extra time to get textbooks delivered by mail or exams delivered to your proctor. Rule of Thumb: Contact your instructor immediately after registering. Introduce yourself. Ask for instructions on getting started.
Can I take a Distance Education class if I don't have computer access?
How do I submit coursework and take exams in a technology delivered class?
Generally, you can mail, fax, or email assignments to your instructor. Some classes will have assignments and exams online. Other classes will require you to take a paper-and-pencil test administered by an approved proctor in your area. A good rule is to contact your instructor or the campus distance education service center for details when you register.
Whom do I contact if I'm having technical trouble accessing class or if I have a question about an exam?
Just like with classes taken in classrooms, the first person to contact is your instructor. Contact information for phone and email can be found in the class materials like web sites and syllabi.
How quickly can I complete a distance education course?
Many classes found in the catalog follow a traditional semester calendar (August to December, January to May, and May to August). Some are accelerated, and others are open enrollment. The classes following the semester calendar generally have specific time periods for taking exams and submitting assignments. A good rule: check with the instructor before you register for the minimum completion period.
When are classes offered?
Most of the classes follow a semester calendar which will require you to “attend” class at a certain time or be in a certain location.
How much are classes?
If you are a high school student, there is no tuition fee to pay; however, there may be a separate fee. Check with your school. If you are a college student, then you will need to pay the tuition fee according to your institution’s fee schedule.
Can I use credit from a distance learning course to fill college graduation requirements?
Yes. In fact, many of the classes found in this catalog fulfill general education graduation requirements. Utah's public colleges and universities accept transfer credit from any other public Utah college. However, you are strongly advised to check with your home college or high school advisors, particularly when taking major requirements, to ensure the class you take at another school will not only transfer, but will also count toward the requirements of your major.
Can I take college classes while still in high school?
Yes. The state of Utah allows high school student who are 16 years old to take college courses. In some cases this is called concurrent enrollment.
What is the difference between community colleges, state colleges, and universities?
Community colleges have two missions: prepare students for work and prepare students to transfer to a bachelor degree program at a state college or university. Community colleges provide developmental education for students who need to fine tune their basic skills, and certificate programs and associate degree programs in general education and applied technology. So do state colleges, and they also offer select bachelor degree programs. Students who graduate from a community college may transfer to a state college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree. Universities provide bachelor and graduate programs in a variety of professional, technical, and academic fields.
What is General Education?
Almost all degrees and certificates have a general education component. General Education classes provide opportunities for students to explore new areas while improving communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. You will take between 30 and 39 general education credits. You must follow the general education requirements of your home college. Contact your school’s advising office for details.
Degree Types Defined
In higher education, certificates and degrees are awarded upon completion of a course of study. Certificate programs usually consist of a group of specialized courses that, when completed, certify that you have mastered specific skills or knowledge. Usually, certificate programs prepare students for entry-level employment. A degree program includes a required set of general education courses and a sequence of academic or technology-related courses. Successful completion of these programs leads to an associate, bachelor, master, or doctoral degree in a specific area of study. Degree programs require a longer time commitment to complete than do certificate programs but often provide greater lifelong employment opportunities.
Where can I find information about choosing a career?
Use the Majors Guide. Select any program of study from the "Search by Subject" listings, then select a specific program. Links at the bottom of the "Details" page take you to real time data on related occupations. Explore.
To whom do I speak about choosing a major?
Faculty and departmental advisors at your college or university can provide you with a wealth of information on different majors. If you are in high school, your school counselor should be your first contact.
IP- based Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC)
General IVC Information
- What is IP-based Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC)?
Often referred to as “Polycom” in recognition of a major provider of IVC equipment, IP-based Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC) consists of two-way video and audio communication supported by a computer network or digital phone line that facilitates interaction between people in two (point-to-point) or more (multipoint) locations, creating a virtual classroom or meeting room. With IVC, students in one location can see and speak with students and an instructor in a different location.
- What is UEN doing with IVC?
UEN’s two-way videoconferencing system is called IVC. Since 1989, IVC has been an analog system of microwave relays and land lines connecting over 300 sites across Utah. UEN is currently replacing the older analog IVC system with IVC technology. IVC technology gives UEN’s public and higher education customers greater efficiencies and functionality. UEN will complete converting its analog system to the IVC technology by fall 2007.
- What are the educational advantages of IVC?
IVC improves the learning experience in a number of ways:
- As with all distance learning delivery methods, IVC increases access to educational resources, particularly for students living in remote parts of the state.
- IVC offers flexibility for the learner to access classes from a number of locations – school, home, or work.
- The IVC delivery method allows both teachers and students to interact equally. Audio and video are two-way: students in receive sites can see and talk to their instructor and visa versa.
- IVC also allows teachers to bring speakers and images from distant places right into their classrooms. As a result, students can experience things they would not normally encounter.
- I’m a student – why is IVC important?
IVC, like other distance education technologies, allows students to take classes they normally would not be able to take. Students can learn specialized subjects from experts in the field, take college classes for credit, and participate in virtual events and field trips regardless of their location across the state.
- I’m a teacher – can I teach a class using IVC?
Most experienced teachers can adapt their teaching methods and strategies for classes using IVC. Teachers and support personal do need to have specialized training; however, they should be skilled at using technology in the classroom (cameras, microphones, internet, document cameras, etc.). UEN and USOE provide teacher and facilitator training by request throughout the state.
IVC Information for Site Facilitators
- What is the role of an IVC Facilitator?
For information on the roles and responsibilities of a facilitator, visit UEN's Site Facilitator web page.
- Why are Facilitators essential?
As the eyes, ears, and hands of the course instructor, facilitators play a critical role. Research shows that a high-quality facilitator is crucial for the success of students in distance education classes. Not only do facilitators distribute and collect assignments and proctor tests, they play a key role in classroom management and in facilitating communication between students and the instructor by alerting the instructor to student questions and assisting students in understanding course material. An attentive facilitator is vital for the success of students; an inattentive or absent facilitator can render an IVC class ineffective.
- How can I get certified as an IVC Facilitator?
UEN and USOE offer training for facilitators throughout the state by request. To arrange a training session, visit the IVC Training Page.
- Where can I go for technical help when something goes wrong during a class?
If you are unable to resolve a technical problem quickly and easily, contact the Video Operations Center (VOC) using the 1-800 number posted on the IVC equipment.
- How do I report problems with student behavior?
Any behavioral problems (cheating, disruptiveness, excessive absences, etc.) should be reported immediately to the course instructor and, if appropriate, to the site counselor in charge of assigning students to IVC classes.
IVC Information for Site Administrators
- What are my responsibilities as a Site Administrator?
For information on the roles and responsibilities of a site administrator, visit UEN's Site Administrator web page.
- How can I apply for a new IVC site?
To apply for a new UEN-certified IVC site, submit an IVC Site Application form.
- How can I check on the status of an IVC site application?
To check on the status of an IVC site application, contact Jeff Egly.
- What staffing do I need to run a class or meeting using IVC?
Each class or meeting should be conducted by a trained IVC facilitator. Facilitators at receive sites assist instructors in classroom management in all aspects from taking class roll to handing out class materials and proctoring exams. Both the instructor and the facilitators should complete training in the technical aspects of IVC and in pedagogical aspects of engaging students situated in multiple locations. Each IVC site should also have a site coordinator and a site counselor to arrange the schedule of courses and meetings and to enroll students in IVC courses.
- What equipment do I need?
Previously-purchased equipment may not be adequate for IVC use. Before planning new purchases of IVC (or “Polycom”) equipment, you should consult with your UEN Distance Education Specialist. As part of the site application and approval process, UEN typically purchases and installs all necessary IVC equipment.
- What is the cost of an IVC class or meeting?
Typically, IVC events for public and higher education are free of charge with the exception of a small fee to pay facilitators at each receive site. For other types of events, various fees apply. See the IVC Fee Schedule for pricing information.
- How do fee waivers work?
In some instances where enrollment is very low at a receiving site, the originating institution may be unwilling to pay the receive site fee associated with an IVC event. In this situation, a site administrator may apply for a waiver of the receive site fee in order to carry the course (see IVC Site Fee Waiver form). The site administrator is still responsible for providing a trained facilitator for each event that has been granted a fee waiver.
- Who can I contact for additional information?
For additional information, contact your UEN Distance Education Specialist.
IVC Information for Site Counselors / Coordinators
- What are my responsibilities as a Site Counselor / Coordinator?
For information on the roles and responsibilities of a site counselor or coordinator, visit UEN's Site Counselor web page.
- How can I find schedules of upcoming classes?
To find a schedule of upcoming classes, visit the UEN Distance Education Catalog.
- How do I schedule a class at my site?
If you would like to schedule a class, contact the originating institution listed in the UEN Distance Education Catalog and ask to become a receive site for that course.
- How can I request a new class?
If you would like to offer a course that is not currently listed in the UEN Distance Education Catalog, follow the Course Proposal Process.
- There are two classes at the same time; how do I choose which one to carry?
Decisions as to which classes are carried at a receive site are left to the sole discretion of the site coordinator and site administrator.
- What preparation do students need for IVC classes?
High school students enrolled in IVC courses must meet a set of minimum requirements (e.g. – class standing, GPA, etc.) and be capable of working in an alternative classroom setting. Check with your high school counselor regarding the minimum requirements.
- How do I deal with mismatches between the times of IVC classes and our regular schedule?
Because school bell schedules are not consistent across sites, some mismatches will occur. Site coordinators and administrators should work with students and teachers to minimize disruptions resulting from scheduling mismatches. In some cases, IVC instructors may be willing to adjust start and end times for classes to better match local needs.
- How can I get additional support and training?
For additional support and training, visit the IVC Training Page or contact your UEN Distance Education Specialist.
Using the Distance Education Catalog
Where can I find the Distance Education Catalog?
Go to: Distance Education Catalog.
What courses are listed in the Distance Education Catalog?
Any course that is delivered via a UEN delivery system (i.e., IVC, Satellite, IP Video, and UEN-TV) offered by Utah’s high schools, colleges, and universities. These courses include high school, college, and concurrent enrollment.
How do I find a particular course?
At the Distance Education Catalog web page, select the desired term and curriculum/academic area, then click on the “Search” button.
Who can take a course listed in the Distance Education Catalog?
Any one who is in high school or college; however, there may be certain requirements a student will need to be meet prior to registering for a particular course. See your school counselor for details.
How do I register for a course?
If you are a student, talk to your school counselor.
If you are a school counselor, call the “Contact” person listed in the “Course Details” for that institution for instructions on registration.
What if the course I am looking for is not listed?
If the course you are looking for is not listed, it probably means that the course is not offered for that particular term; however, you can call the “Contact” person listed in the “Course Details” to ask about it.
Can I search by start time, so I can find all the classes that start at a certain time or within a range of times?
Yes. The Advanced Search screen has an option for searching the “Start Times” of when courses are offered.
Can I get a list of all classes that meet my criteria (e.g., HIST 1700)?
Yes. The Basic and Advanced Search screens has a variety of criteria you can search on.
Will the catalog show related classes even if origination sites have slightly different names (e.g., all HIST 1700 classes, HIST 1700 or HIST1700 [no space], or even USU 1300?
Who can I contact if I have questions about the Distance Education Catalog?
Yes. Selecting a K-12 Curriculum or College Academic Area will generate courses for all courses in that subject area.
Go to the UEN Distance Education Contact Numbers web page for a list of persons you can contact based on your needs.