Many academic institutions are ideally positioned to expand their addressable market and enhance teaching capabilities by leveraging advanced internet solutions. With the availability of internet connectivity to the home and recent advances in internet applications, education can now be delivered effectively Anywhere and Anytime. The obstacle for many of these institutions is that they do not know how to implement, indeed where to begin.
While Distance Education (or Distance Learning) can take many forms, the IdeArbitrage approach is distinguished by the following Guiding Principles:
1. Encourage Interactive Learning, enabling live interaction and engagement between teacher and student.
2. Optimize for Efficiency and Effectiveness by automating content delivery and customization.
3. Improve Relevance to each and every student by customizing content based on student interests.
4. Continuously improve Content and Delivery by harnessing Social Media, Blogs and Twitter.
A Four-phased Approach
Phase 1: The Virtual Classroom
The Virtual Classroom is the foundation of our proposed Distance Education system. The backbone of the system is an internet-based virtual collaboration system provided by a service provider such as WebEx or Gotomeeting. Utilizing real-time video and audio, an on-line host (instructor) can conduct a series of scheduled lessons to remote students. This system can not only deliver prepared content with slides and video, but also enable interactive participation with remote on-line students through discussion sessions, Q&A and predesigned polls. The system can also accommodate additional presenters (specialists in the fields such as Green Design, Marketing Strategies, Healthy Lifestyles, etc) from other remote locations. The internet-based system will enable these specialist to participate from anywhere in the world, and can enable virtual demonstrations as well.
Phase 2: Automation: Content as Database, Intelligent Delivery
The existing teaching content is translated into an informational database that is sorted by subject categories, then tagged by various topics and subject matter. This database can then be accessed by a system that can be sorted to respond to student queries on-line. This on-line service is made available to students any time, from any place. Additionally, developing and publishing apps for the smartphones and tablet PCs can also be explored. The database can also generate quizzes and exams to facilitate student certification or grading.
Phase 3: Customization
After the content is transfered on to a database from phase 2, future teaching sessions can be modified “on the fly” to suit the interests of a specific student group. Web/Blogs and Twitter sessions can be designed to follow-up on previous education sessions to respond to additional questions and suggestions from students. Consolidated lessons can also be recorded and broadcasted as Youtube, podcasts and iTunes U to address even wider audiences.
Phase 4: Content Update
Based on feedback from students as well as new content from the instructors, the presentation content and delivery methods are updated on a regular basis, ensuring fresh content and relevance to the student interests. The updating process can facilitate input from various alliance partners and service providers as well.