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Technology alters the way teachers teach

By Jessica Fuller
On March 19, 2014

Technology has brought education a long way since the times of chalk and overhead projectors. While the old ways of teaching aren't extinct, ETSU has adapted in many ways to accommodate new technology.
Alison Barton teaches educational psychology online at ETSU. She instructs aspiring educators on the best methods of teaching.
"It's all about the process of learning theory and what we can do to capitalize on it," Barton said. "We take ideas from that and help faculty to teach better from that."
Students pay a $112.50 technology access fee each semester. According to Karen King, vice provost for e-learning, this fee goes toward installing updated technology in classrooms. King said that more than 175 classrooms on campus are equipped with multimedia equipment that includes projectors and the computers used for light and sound control.
"We are very, very careful to make sure that any of the dollars we spend go for direct student benefit," King said.
Technology has even moved class out of the classroom altogether. According to King, ETSU has been developing its online education programs since its first program, an online dental hygiene completion program, launched in 2001.
"We're working on those kinds of things all the time to increase those [online] programs," King said. "I think it's important for students in this region because many, many students work and it's good to give them that flexibility."
In addition to being the first online program at ETSU, the dental hygiene completion program was also the first online program in Tennessee. Since then, universities across the country have adopted online learning as more flexible alternative for students.
Barton said that a lot of competition comes from schools that offer complete online programs, and that increasing the online opportunities at ETSU will help the university with increasing enrollment.
"It's reaching a population that hasn't been reachable before, being able to learn in front of a computer," she said. "We have really expanded in the past few years."
ETSU presents its online programs in three different categories, and students can differentiate between the type of online classes by the section number. Asynchronous online courses are completely online and are sections 900 through 929, classes that are mostly online but still have one or more meetings on campus are sections 940 through 959, and synchronous online courses, which are classes that are streamed to a home computer, are sections 990-999.
King also said that online courses must follow specific guidelines that are decided by faculty.
"Courses are reviewed based on certain elements," she said. "We do hold them to a little bit of a higher standard as far as what elements are required."
With continuously changing technology, King said that ETSU is never far behind. She said she's proud of the opportunities that the office of e-learning provides for students.
"I think we're ahead of the curve on what we do with technology and the connectivity that we're providing for students," King said. "We're pretty good."

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