KLAMATH FALLS – Klamath Community College is furthering its commitment to the community by sharing ideas with the Oregon Institute of Technology.
At Oregon Tech’s request, KCC recently led a small group of Oregon Tech staff members through two synchronous classrooms at the KCC Klamath Falls campus.
“The synchronous system gives opportunities to community members who don’t have access to higher education,” said KCC Network and Systems Manager Mike Pearson, who led the tour. “It puts college in front of them in the comfort of their own space.”
KCC has five synchronous classrooms at the Klamath Falls campus, each costing several thousand dollars and funded by grant awards. The synchronous rooms include an audio/video control panel, a life-size video conference system, a 75-inch SMART TV, two 70-inch presentation TVs used to stream distance classes in real time, and an interactive podium for instructors to write on the screen without moving to a whiteboard or TV.
The synchronous KCC classes stream classes in real time to Bonanza, Lost River, Chiloquin, Lakeview, North Lake, and Paisley high schools.
Tony Richey, OIT manager of IT operations and educational technology, said Oregon Tech would like to use synchronous technology to expand offerings at its Wilsonville campus, as well as at Chemeketa Community College and other colleges and high schools throughout the region.
According to Richey, Oregon Tech is in the process of creating a synchronous classroom design similar to KCC’s, that will provide students with a full-blown classroom experience, allowing distance-education students to engage with faculty and other students and incorporating the social aspects of learning.
“It will also offer them flexibility because there are a limited amount of times a class can be scheduled,” Richey said.
Pearson pointed out that synchronous technology could also benefit Oregon Tech students pursuing a four-year degree who cannot travel due to finances or disabilities.
The courses OIT may initially offer via synchronous learning include engineering, mechanical, and management, according to Richey.
“I think synchronous delivery for distance education is part of the future, and I’m glad other institutions are looking at the same technologies,” Pearson said.
Klamath Community College is an AA/EEO/VET/ADA Institution