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How is Technology used for Distance Education?

 The above table is a brief overview of the different technologies used in Distance Education.  This page will go into internet, video conferencing, and how technology makes it easier to communicate while participating in distance education.


The internet is the life source of distance education nowadays. Previously some distance education courses mailed packets to students the students completed the assignments and mailed them back to the professors.  To test the students would go into the closest campus to be supervised while testing.  With more and more courses taking the strictly online route now interfaces and web-based resources are the core of the courses.   


 Interfaces have become very important to Distance Education. Many schools from K-12 schools to community colleges to four year universities have some sort of interface that they use for communicating with students and parents to posting  readings, grades, and quizzes.  Teachers and professors can also use the interfaces for discussions in a chat format or a forum format where students can post and respond to other students' comments.  The following four interfaces are well-known interfaces that schools in the Iowa City area use.


"We provide training, consulting, and administrative support for ICON (Iowa Courses Online, powered by Desire2Learn software), the interactive web space for University of Iowa courses. Depending on how the instructor sets up the ICON course space, students may be able to view and download materials, engage in discussions, submit assignments, take quizzes, check grades, or engage in other online activities. ICON has many integrations with existing campus systems, such as Hawk ID login, Registrar-tied course enrollments, and UI Libraries."  (UIowa ITS website)


"The eLearning system a Kirkwood is powered by Angel Learning - a suite of online tools that facilitate e-learning. Instructors in face-to-face courses often deliver materials and extend your learning with Angel. Most online courses take advantage of the organization and interaction the software delivers to create a positive and supported learning environment." (Kirkwood)


 Watch the following video to find out what is new with Blackboard 9.1.

Blackboard video

How to use Blackboard website


"PowerSchool is the fastest-growing, most widely used web-based student information system, supporting more than 8.5 million students in 50 states and over 50 countries. PowerSchool enables today's educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers and students to work together in preparing 21st century learners for the future." (Powerschool Website)  As you can see from the following photo teachers are are able to have gradebooks, assignment, student information, and reports.  This is a way for teachers to keep everything organized in one spot.  Powerschool can also be used for the parents so they can see their children's grades and see comments from the teachers to see how well they are doing in classes. 


Video Conferencing

Video conferencing in classrooms can be used in many ways.  It can be used to connect with the classroom you're working with down the hall or connecting with a classroom across the globe.  The ways that video conferencing is used in the classroom depends on the level of the classroom.  In elementary classrooms they may just be working with another class on a project or they could have a worldwide pen pal program going on where they communicate via video conferencing.  In secondary classrooms students may be taking a class that is not offered at their school but another school or again they could be working on a project with another school.  At community colleges many have different campuses and in order to offer a class at every campus they do a video conferencing  class so they can have 1 professor teach it from the main campus and all of the satellite campuses.  Another way classrooms use video conferencing is to have guest experts or visitors.  Many schools can not go on field trips due to lack of money so many places that schools would go to have developed virtual field trips.  In Iowa we have the Iowa Communications Network that connects towns all over the state.

Easier Communication

Overall, all of these interfaces and video conferencing techniques that have been talked about have made communicating easier in classrooms all over. There are many other interfaces that schools use for distance education as well as other video conferencing tools.  This page had discussed areas that are familiar to University of Iowa students. 

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  1. This was a very helpful page because it shows us what various forms of distance education there are available such as ICON, ANGEL, or Powerschool. It nice to have screen shots of these various programs as well.

  2. I agree with Ross. This page was very in depth. I did feel like it was extremely full of information and I did wish that the info was more condensed.