For whatever reason, I didn’t get to experience the pure joy of taking an interactive television class until my senior year.
If you’re not familiar with ITV courses, you probably won’t sense my seething sarcasm. These classes were created because of Murray State’s fascination with the “non-traditional.” Classes are broadcasted to the other Murray State satellite campuses in Hopkinsville, Paducah, Madisonville and Henderson. While the class is in session, students from the other these campuses can interact with the professor via microphone and a camera that shows the other regional classrooms.
While the concept sounds innovative and refreshing, attending an ITV class has been the bane of my entire semester.
The technology is still unstable, which means half the class is spent trying to get the cameras to turn on or the microphones to pick up sound.
The professors are constantly frustrated from the complicated procedures, and students at the regional campuses are ultimately losing out. They’re paying tuition for a class where most time is wasted.
Murray State main campus students aren’t at any more of an advantage because they too spend most of the class time watching the technicians and professors scratch their heads in confusion.
I don’t want to sound like I’m completely against the concept of ITV classes. If done correctly, they’re helpful to regional Murray State students who don’t have access to lectures only offered at the main campus.
They also could serve as a stepping stone to more technological innovation for the University, which would attract more students in faraway areas and increase revenue.
However, after taking in two ITV classes at face value, I’m still not convinced that we’re ready for them. It’s a learning experience for everyone. Professors have to learn to use the technology correctly, students have to remember to hold down their microphone buttons when they answer questions and regional students have to sit back and watch us make sense of the chaos.
Whenever I passed an ITV classroom in the hallway, I was incredibly envious of whoever got to have a lecture in one.
I loved the long rows of new desks, with a microphone at every seat, sit in front of two large flat-screen televisions and large desk in between.
It looked impressive in comparison to the other classes I was used to attending, with dirty white boards and aging desks.
Now that I’m in two ITV classes, the tables have turned on me. I miss having my old classes.
There were no interruptions that lasted more than 30 minutes and there’s no way for a chalkboard to crash or mute.
I’m glad that Murray State is taking the initiative to advance technology in the classroom, and one day I’ll be proud that my alma mater is ahead of most universities in that aspect. However, to fully harness the potential of ITV classrooms and satellite campuses, we really need to take more time to understand it so students aren’t losing out on the education on which they’re paying for.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor