Video streaming on mobile devices is changing how students and professors connect with their learning.
A San Francisco woman no longer has to move across the country to earn an MBA from the University of North Carolina. Instead, Meredith Culler can join MBA@UNC online, which will help her advance in a career she already enjoys.
But even better than that, she learns as she takes public transportation to her full-time job as a senior inventory buyer for Pottery Barn. In the two 10-week classes she's taking, professors recorded three hours of video lectures for students to watch each week. Through the MBA@UNC app by 2U Inc., students watch the videos, upload their own and interact with their classmates. Then once a week per class, they attend a live class session via video with their classmates and professor.
"I can carry my iPad in my purse, and if I have a commute from San Francisco to the South Bay, I can get an hour of videos done no problem, which is hugely convenient," Culler said. "It's the constant connection I think that really helps."
That constant connection, along with the combination of watching videos and discussing the material online, brings everyone into a central classroom. They wouldn't have been able to do this in a full-time MBA program, Culler said.
"It's really changing the way anyone can get their education," she said.
On the instructor side, professors can post current videos, photos, images and articles to the course from their phone. By adding this type of video capability to USC's online Master of Social Work program, it broadens typical academic definitions of learning, said Annalisa Enrile, a professor in the program. And it challenges professors to think differently about what's happening in the field.
"Virtual education has moved us beyond the classroom, and these new mobile technologies are moving us further and further into the real world where our students will be practicing," Enrile said.
For example, in her course on global violence against women, she's found videos, blogs and statements from international sources that she can post from wherever she is. And it's helped students make the connection between what they're studying and what's happening in the world.
"This mobile app for me is a game-changer," Enrile said. "It really has taken hold of virtual education and is now really allowing us to explore all of its potentiality."