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Telecourses losing out to online options

Telecourses were the first distance education programs at TJC. However, what was once considered high-tech is losing ground to online options.

” The telecourse program is like distance education without a computer,” said Ken Craver, the director of Distance Education.

The telecourse was first introduced at TJC in the fall of 1986, with courses including English 1301 and English 1302. Classes were operated by televisions and classroom orientations. Since then, they have been heavily utilized and offered learning opportunities to many.

Courses are started by an orientation where students receive all of their assignments and schedules needed for the telecourses.

Courses are taught through recorded lectures that students can view on DVDs checked out from the library, watch them on cable through SuddenLink, or stream them from TJC’s learning management system Apache Online. The lectures are done in a very high quality, and the instructors go over reviews.

Classes are held each month for students who need help on assignments, to review lectures, or for discussions. In some cases, students can communicate with teachers and turn in assignments through e-mail or regular mail.

“The television is a supplement for telecourses students,” said Mary Adams, instructor of English 1301 and 1302.

Currently this fall, TJC has sections of telecourses with an estimated 189 students. Courses include English 1301 and 1302, Psychology 1301, Sociology 1301 and 2301 and

Government 2305. This is a big decrease from the 1990’s, when there were just over 15 sections and double the amount of students, because online learning has become a more effective source.

High school students around the Tyler area are also taking part in telecourses fordual credits. Courses include English 1301, Government 2305 and Psychology 2301, with approximately 241 students participating.

Although telecourses have been around for many years, TJC is one of the only campuses in Texas that still offers these courses, because of the popularity of the Internet and online learning.

” Telecourses are often expensive and is costing TJC a lot of money. The cost of DVD lectures and other appliances are estimated at of $60 per student,” said Gay Howard, VCT coordinator. Although, the cost is expensive to TJC, students do not have to pay more for their supplies.

Online learning is quickly replacing this form of instruction. Instructors like Mrs. Adams have adopted a manual where students can complete assignments and keep up with due dates and test dates to make her telecourse more effective. Some students still want telecourses due to their lack of computer skills or inability to understand the online environment.

For more information on telecourses, contact TJC’s Distance Education department or an instructor of a telecourse.

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