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KTS: Distance doesn't matter

With the use of cameras and microphones, KTS brings the class to you

By Dani Coover
On March 27, 2013

 

Distance doesn't matter with KTS. Students from seven different counties can take classes without setting foot on main campus.

When Dr. Jennifer Brennom enters her classroom at Kirkwood Community College, half of her students aren't sitting in front of her and she's not concerned.

Brennom uses the KTS system, which is an interactive television network that links her main campus classroom to various students via cameras and microphones located elsewhere.

"I'm at one site with students in front of me but I also have about nine other sites out there. There are students watching me; I'm watching them and we communicate through the microphones and the cameras," said Brennom.

Students in KTS classes use microphones and cameras placed around the room. This allows for students' voices and images to be projected to other Kirkwood locations such as Belle Plaine, Iowa City or Williamsburg.

With this program, students who live in surrounding counties do not have to drive to the main campus every day but can instead go to more convenient centers.

Students enrolled in a KTS class can receive all of the benefits of an in-room classroom without having to travel.

"It's cool because all the technology can bring us together. We can reach much more diverse students and I love having all the technology right at my fingertips," said Brennom.

Jessica Hein, a student of Brennom's, is currently enrolled in four KTS classes. Instead of driving to the main campus location, she can stay in her hometown of Tipton, which has its own Kirkwood center.

"I like that it's closer to my house and that it's a lot smaller than standard Kirkwood classes," Hein commented.   

With technology advancing, KTS can do nothing but improve. "We are starting now to do picture-in-picture," said Brennom. "In the past all students could see is the PowerPoint but now there is a little picture of us in the bottom so that you still have the human touch."

Overall, KTS is just like a regular classroom setting. Hein stated, "It's the same as in a classroom. You just have to talk through a microphone and your teacher is seen through a screen."

Brennom said that she prefers KTS classes over the regular classes. "I like the distance because of what I teach and the diversity of the students. The life experiences make a big difference."


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