Sixty-five Percent of all NMSU Classes have Online Components

ACANS News & Information Center

Sixty-five Percent of all NMSU Classes have Online Components

NMSU continues to prosper on the forefront of eLearning

Online learning, or eLearning, was introduced in the 1990s. Its primary mode of delivery at NMSU has been WebCT. Since it offers students an alternative to the traditional structure of face-to-face professor instruction, eLearning is able to accommodate students whose obligations do not allow them to attend classes. For this reason, it has found huge success and it is one of the fastest growing trends in education.

Adam Cavotta, Instructional Technology Consultant for ICT, builds a WebCT course.Adam Cavotta, Instructional Technology Consultant for ICT, builds a WebCT course.

WebCT was incorporated into New Mexico State University’s curriculum in 1997. That year, NMSU offered three online classes. In Spring 2006, 65 percent, or approximately 2,600 of the 4,000 classes offered at NMSU incorporated an online component. Additionally, NMSU offered 214 classes that used WebCT and/or other eLearning technologies as their primary mode of instruction. And eLearning is not limited to class offerings, as degrees and certificates can also be earned online.

New Mexico State University offers 375 degree and certificate programs; 19 of those degrees and/or certificates are offered by the College of Extended Learning. These technology- based programs are delivered through WebCT, Centra, Interactive Television (ITV), and other learning technologies.

As you might imagine, the huge success of such programs, not only at NMSU, but across the world, has advanced eLearning technology.  Governor Bill Richardson, who has always been an advocate in keeping NM at the forefront of eLearning, recently proposed a statewide eLearning program called IDEAL-NM.  IDEAL-NM’s main goal is to combine new and existing technology in order to create a statewide eLearning system and Cyber Academy.  Thus in order to keep up with such technological advances, NMSU will be moving from WebCT 4 to Blackboard 6 in the summer of 2007. Sharon Lalla, Manager of ICT Training Services, says, “We are beginning the process of communicating the features and plans for training faculty and staff.”

In the process of communicating this system upgrade, ICT Training Services will begin offering training sessions in February for faculty and staff.  This training will cover the new and improved features of Blackboard 6 such as the new interface, how to build a class from scratch or how to migrate and update their courses taught under the current system.  The upgrade from WebCT to Blackboard 6 is merely a continuation of the small incremental steps that will continue to occur over the next couple of years.

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