Interactive online classes expected to enhance learning

Alyssa Elso/Staff Writer

Online courses through the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will become more interactive with the construction of the new Learning Object Development Environment room.

Located on the third floor of the Kovens Conference Center, the Learning Object Development Environment room will give professors a quiet space in which to develop, record and edit material for their online classes.

“The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management always tries to stay ahead of the curve in terms of facilities that will facilitate better learning processes,” said Associate Dean of Facilities and Operations, Mohammad Qureshi.

In the age of technology, where most students have access to a computer, online classes are becoming more popular and accessible. The School of Hospitality and Tourism management currently offers an online master and executive master degree, as well as a complete online bachelor degree in hospitality management, according to Qureshi.

“Online classes, at least for our department, is no longer simply about putting up notes or powerpoints anymore, or just saying ‘read the book and take the exam’,” Qureshi said. “Looking into online classes, we felt that in order to improve the faculty member’s demonstrations and presentations, we needed to give them a more professional environment where they could develop learning objects, meaning lectures, presentations and demonstrations.”

The new facility will have film and audio equipment and will feature a greenscreen in which professors will be able to present their lectures while simultaneously showing images and facts on the screen behind them to further enhance the learning process.

Along with the bachelor and master’s programs that are offered online, the School of Hospitality also offers non credit certificates in various hospitality fields. Within these online classrooms the students will have a chance to work with professors to create presentations that are much more engaging than a normal PowerPoint, according to Qureshi.

When it comes to taking online classes, students seem to have differing views. “I don’t like sitting at a computer for long periods of time, I also feel that I work better in a classroom setting where I can immediately ask for help, regardless of the way the lectures are presented,” said sophomore electrical engineering major, Albert Angullo.

Gabriela Vargas, senior public relations major, on the other hand thoroughly enjoys them. “I like that with online classes I don’t have to drive to school, and that I can do the work alone,” said Vargas. “I think making the lectures more interactive would definitely make the classes more engaging and students would probably be more willing to try an online class.”

As of right now the facility will only be used by faculty members and professors, however, students with developed presentation ideas may have the opportunity to use the facility, if scheduling permits.

In order to fund the new project, the School of Hospitality is using monies that they have generated through the online masters program. The program is market rate, meaning that the school sets a monthly fee for the program, preventing the use of monies from the budget to fund the project.

Completion on the Learning Object Development Environment room is expected by November 2013.


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