For Immediate Release
By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator, and Shelby Cash, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University theology students in Bowling Green, Pineville and northern Kentucky met via CU-360 Tuesday night from the Louisville Education Center.
The Louisville Education Center connected to the three sites for the first time through interactive television. Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of the School of Theology, taught a master of theology course, originating in Louisville.
Twenty-five students were in the class, with seven of these coming via the use of the new CU-360 connections established by Jim Woolums, director of the Louisville Center, and Hermano Queiroz, director of information technology at CU.
“All in all, it was a very successful event,” Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for regional and professional education, said.
“The students could hear and see the instructor and each other well, and this method of teaching saved driving time for the instructor as well as the students. It was an excellent way to bring our distant students together in a classroom without having to drive.”
“A full-time faculty member was able to teach a class in three locations at the same time,” he said. “This brings the expertise of Campbellsville University professors to classrooms across the state and allows direct in-class face-to-face interaction with students.”
Woolums, who taught from Fort Mitchell in Northern Kentucky, said, “The connection was very good. The high definition screens and sound made you feel like you were right there.”
Woolums said Campbellsville University is offering students who want to pursue a graduate degree in theology to be able to do so without going to another institution. “CU gives them the opportunity to take theology at a Baptist-related institution. We had students from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.”
He said CU offers the opportunity for students to take the graduate course at Campbellsville University, which is one of few in the northern Kentucky area.
Hurtgen said he was grateful to have the opportunity to present his introduction to pastoral epistles class via interactive TV. “I was thankful to have the students in the other two areas present and as engaged as anyone sitting in the classroom in Louisville.”
One of the students he was teaching is his mother, Evelyn Hurtgen, who is a senior scholar and is auditing the class.
Spears said two additional master of theology courses are anticipated via CU-360. He said CU has five students in Bowling Green who are taking preparatory courses that will allow them to also enter the CU-360 courses.
“We anticipate that additional students will come to the courses in the master of theology program and in other disciplines as we have permission to offer them in these new locations for CU,” Spears said.
Spears said this new approach to teaching those interested in theology may be of interest to churches around Kentucky.
Spears said the new interactive TV system will allow CU to participate with students at other sites and with other colleges.
Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs, said CU continues to explore opportunities to work with local high schools in delivery of honors courses.
The courses would involve full-time CU faculty teaching courses from the home campus streamed to local schools through interactive TV.
He said, “CU is working diligently to also provide training for faculty and staff on the technical side of using interactive television.” In February, a campus-wide seminar was offered in how to use the technology and the approaches to delivering the content.
The system being used is called CU-360; classes can be broadcast in one of CU’s locations in Louisville, Hodgenville, northern Kentucky (Fort Mitchell), Pineville or Bowling Green, or from the main campus.
“One of the difficulties in distance learning is being able to recreate the classroom experience with only audio (telephone) or only course work (correspondence and online),” Dr. Chris Conver, Louisville Center recruiter and assistant professor of theology, said. “Interactive TV is a solution whereby individuals in separate locations can view, hear and interact with each other.”
Conver said, “This is an advantage to working adults, single parents, caregivers of children or seniors, etc., who can’t squeeze a 90-minute commute into their already busy schedules. Students now have the opportunity to learn through a quality program that is innovative, flexible, convenient and affordable.”
CU-360 is offering the program in graduate programs at the moment; undergraduate classes may be offered in the future. CU is also working on other innovative means of delivery and partnerships with local area schools.
The CU-360 system operates through a video camera at the back of the classroom to view the instructor and the presentation board. A front-mounted camera shares a view of the students. There is a projection TV and a widescreen TV in the room, so that students can view the members of the class in other locations, and see the PowerPoint presentation or other content needed in class.
The two cameras allow the students in remote locations to be able to switch views back and forth (both teacher and class participants) to engage in classroom discussion. The main campus and the remote locations also have similar classroom seating arrangements.
The CU School of Education is using the equipment for teacher training and staff meetings with faculty/staff at different locations. Even at locations which lack a minimum cohort number, CU-360 allows for even one student to participate in a course.
On Feb. 22, CU announced a $20,000 grant from The Gheens Foundation in order to install the interactive TV equipment at Louisville’s Simmons College of Kentucky, which is partnering with CU.
CU has regional locations at Louisville, Somerset, Hodgenville, Elizabethtown, Northern Kentucky (Fort Mitchell Baptist Church), Clear Creek Baptist College at Pineville and Bowling Green at Hillvue Heights Baptist Church
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.