BSU testing global distance education

Global Media Network will develop program to span entire globe.

Ball State students could soon join other students from around the world for classes and seminars through a Web-based videoconferencing system.

According to Scott Olson, dean of the College of Communication, Information and Media, this is an opportunity for Ball State students to learn from faculty and students from other culturally diverse countries.

"The basic idea for this project is that Ball State would have an assortment of regularly scheduled classes that would be team-taught with half the students and faculty members here in Muncie and the other half elsewhere in the world," Olson said.

Testing has already begun by sending high-bandwidth H323 video over the Internet. Olson said he is extremely pleased with the results.

"The tests with Korea and Australia were excellent. The tests with Brazil and Hong Kong were good and are ongoing to see if we can get them to be excellent," said Olson.

He said that tests in Shanghai, China will begin in the next few weeks, although he expects the quality to be low, given the restrictions the Chinese place on the Internet.

Olson said the project has partners in Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Queensland, Australia; Germany, Turkey, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.+â-è

Ball State plans on eventually including Africa, which means the university will have contacts in every continent but Antartica, Olson said.

Interactive sessions could begin this summer with the project fully realized this fall. Every field of study on campus is eligible for participation, Olson said.

Other colleges and universities expected to participate include University of Calgary, Canada; University of Monterrey, Cuernavaca, Mexico; University of Mainz and ZDF-TV, Germany; University of Istanbul, Turkey; University of Hong Kong, China; Shanghai Teachers College, China; King Mongkut, Thailand; and University of Queensland, Australia.

The Global Media Network project is part of iCommunication, which is funded by the $20 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.


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