GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SCIENCES
The Graduate School maintains a high performance Webinar Learning Platform as its real-time learning and communications environment, provided and customized by Cisco’s WebEx Collaboration Service. All courses, proseminars, lectures, meetings, colloquia, and events are presented and coordinated on the Graduate School’s Webinar Learning Platform.
Students and faculty attend courses and proseminars while in their own environments, home or office, where sources of distraction and stress can be minimized and where factors that enhance attention and learning can be maximized.
Students can share their own resources in real time with their colleagues, such as:
- computer and cloud-based files, including documents, articles, and data;
- physical materials, e.g., office configurations, clinical environments, books, and objects;
- equipment or instrumentation that can be operated in real time for all to see;
- clients or patients who may volunteer to be interviewed or to participate in a demonstration;
- employees or associates, who may be invited to share questions and comments.
Learning on the Webinar Platform offers many advantages, including:
- Slides, data, documents, articles, and photos can be shared at any time, by anyone.
- Demonstrations, interviews, and physiological monitoring sessions are live for all to see.
- Multiple modes of presentation may be utilized, including whiteboard, PowerPoint slides, videos.
- Live video of the person speaking is immediate and automatic.
- Live video appears alongside the screen being shared, e.g., slides, live physiology.
- Video options provide for full screen displays of the speaker, along with other persons.
- Individualized positioning of webinar functions makes it possible to customize the screen layout.
- Icon feedback is easily provided in real time to faculty, without disrupting the class.
- Question icons provide for asking and answering questions in the order received.
- Written questions can be asked for all to see using the dynamic chat mode.
- Private messages can be privately communicated from one colleague to another.
- Polling by faculty for student input can be done in real-time at any point in the lecture.
- Students can be divided into breakout groups (pairs) for practice sessions (therapist and client).
- All lectures are recorded and may be reviewed and downloaded at any time.
There are surprising benefits for first time webinar participants, which include:
- Participating in a live webinar is like having a front row seat in class, at all times.
- Seeing people and materials being presented is easier than in a classroom and more personal.
- Observing live demonstrations, interviews, and events is a “bird’s eye” center-stage experience.
- Students ask questions more frequently and more readily and are generally less inhibited.
- Faculty seek feedback more frequently and directly than in a conventional learning environment.
- Communication lines among student-colleagues develop more quickly and more comfortably.
- Group cohesiveness and sense of identity form more easily.
- Attending webinars is much less fatiguing and disruptive than physically attending classes.
Investing in the right equipment is an important consideration:
- A widescreen monitor of at least 23 inches provides much more than just a larger picture; it permits spreading out webinar functions into convenient locations on the screen.
- Wireless USB headsets make it possible to move around comfortably while listening or speaking during sessions. This reduces stress and allows freedom to stretch, stand up, and find things that may be needed during the lecture.
- A computer with 6 to 12 gigabytes of RAM, a fast processor, and a high-end video card significantly improves the webinar experience.
A high-speed Internet connection is absolutely critical.
Subscribing to business class Internet with a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps will reduce or eliminate problems with garbled audio, slow video frame rates, frozen video, and session bump out. A student with a slow internet connection has a less than optimal experience while making it more difficult for everyone else in the class.