TV to a degree: GCC’s video collection makes online learning possible

March 13, 2009

There are hundreds of compelling videos archived at Greenfield Community College that educators and students can access inVHS or DVD format or download from the college’s media server for use in an on-line or hybrid class. The list is growing each semester thanks to the college’s state-of-theart robotic camera technology in the Educational Technology Center, Stinchfield Lecture Hall, and Sloan Theater.

The equipment allows one person to tape events, classes and lectures with two or three cameras from a remote control room, in contrast to three on-site individuals it once required.

“Videotaping allows us to move the classroom to the student,” said Garry Longe, the instructional media specialist for the Educational Technology Center (ETC). “It’s not a replacement for the classroom experience; it’s a supplement or enhancement.”

The ETC videotapes several classes that meet regularly in the college’s TV Studio for distance learning classes, as well as lectures and events that occur in other spaces on campus.

“These programs are primarily for students enrolled in the courses and are posted on a media server for them to access through the internet,” said Longe. “Copies are also placed in the Library on reserve for these students. Sometimes these recordings are edited down for distribution on cable access as a sample of GCC classes and learning.”

Longe’s job is ever flowing, adapting to current situations.

“Some days I do equipment specification, systems design, or installation,” he said. “Other days I do media production work; shooting and editing video, designing graphics, animations, or photo manipulation. I can honestly say no two days are the same and I am constantly challenged and learning new things.”

Longe encourages whoever is sitting in the director’s chair to make the film interesting to watch, because after all, he said, “People don’t want to watch bad TV.”

So, what’s on TV at Greenfield Community College?

Coming up, the vice president of ESPN.com, Rob King, will talk about “Race and Sports” (March 25 at noon on the Main Campus for those who can be there.) For those who can’t, it will be available on video.

According to the United States Distance Learning Association, online learning is as instructive as being in the classroom. More than 50 million people nationwide take advantage of online classes to further their careers and attain a college degree.

For the growing number of students who use the computer as their window into academia, GCC’s videos make learning online possible. Toward that end, GCC is setting up an account with YouTube.com to make some of its videos available through the Internet as well.

“It’s now Internet TV,” said Longe of the new media option. Longe gets an added benefit. “Going to work, is really going to school for me, I get to learn something new every day,” he said.