Requirements and Expectations for Distance Education Students
Definition of Distance Education
Distance education is an effective and flexible alternative for students who are prevented from attending on-campus classes due to personal or work commitments and/or distance from campus. The MPH program requires synchronous distance education, in which students videoconference into the live course in real time.
Distance learning is not easier than on-campus learning; students should be prepared to spend as much or possibly more time on a distance learning course. While the difficulty level of courses taken on-line or on-campus is the same, the benefit of distance education is the possibility of receiving high quality education while attending classes from a remote location.
Distance learning classes carry the same course numbers and credits as their traditional counterparts and appear on the student's transcript just like any other course; there is no designator identifying class attendance through distance education. Credits earned through distance learning are transferable and are applicable to graduation requirements in the same manner as traditional classes.
Prerequisites and Readiness
The ability of a student to succeed in a distance education class depends on his or her ability to understand both the course structure and the associated technology. Informing students of what skills and technology are needed for distance education allows them the opportunity to self-evaluate their capability to succeed in the course.
At the time of admission to the program, students are required to ensure that their computers meet the minimum hardware and software requirements described below. Registration for the course constitutes the student’s understanding and acceptance of the requirements necessary to participate in the course.
Minimum Hardware requirements:
- Working webcam & headset
- 4GB RAM
- 1 GB available storage space
- Broadband connection of ≥ 1 Mbps download and 512 Kbps upload:
- Connection speed can be tested at: https://broadband.nd.gov/speed-test
Minimum Software requirements:
- Windows 7 Basic (and higher) OR Macintosh OSX 10.7.4 (and higher)
- Microsoft Office
- Available for NDSU students for free at: https://www.ndsu.edu/its/software/software_licensing_program/
- Adobe Flash Player (newest version)
- Available at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
- Mozilla Firefox (newest version) available at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
- Additional course-specific software
How to Enroll as a Distance Student
1. Obtain approval from the MPH program to matriculate as a distance student.
2. Register for appropriate interactive video network (IVN) section so the program has the information necessary to create a distance account for you.
3. Download the appropriate software and secure hardware requirements to connect via distance
4. Practice the connection with Information Technology Services (ITS) staff Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Changing from an in-class student to a distance student should be worked out between the student and the program administration and should occur during a between-semester break.
The MPH program uses IVN, a videoconferencing system which simultaneously transmits computer screen content, webcam video, and audio. Distance students are required to videoconference in “live", and participate via video and audio in every class.
Additionally, the MPH program has access to Tegrity, a fully automated lecture capture solution used in traditional, hybrid and online courses to record lectures and supplementary course content. Tegrity records computer screen content, audio and webcam video simultaneously, and then automatically generates a feature-rich recording available for viewing within minutes of recording.
It is up to the discretion of the instructor whether to use Tegrity lecture capture. It is also up to the instructor when to allow access to a Tegrity class recording. In the event that a course absence is necessary, students are responsible for contacting and informing their instructors in advance of missing the class.
Policy regarding IVN connections (recommended to be included on course syllabus)
MPH courses are made available via the IVN system. Use of this technology requires students to take certain positive steps to ensure reliable connectivity. Failure to do so is not only unprofessional, it is distracting to your instructor and to your fellow students.
- You must download, install, and setup all required hardware and software in accordance with all IVN documents and helpdesk suggestions prior to the first class. You must also TEST IT with a member of the IVN staff. You will need to set up an appointment for this by contacting the IVN helpdesk. This is NOT the instructor’s responsibility. Do not ask.
- IVN sessions open 10 minutes prior to the start of each class. It is your responsibility to test your connection before each of our scheduled start times, leaving sufficient time to troubleshoot the connection with helpdesk personnel, if needed. Again, your instructor cannot assist you in making the connection. Contact the helpdesk directly if problems
- IVN connection “issues” are NOT considered justified reasons for tardiness or absenteeism. In cases of a late connection or failed connection, the student is considered tardy or absent, respectively. As such, penalties described in the syllabus will be imposed. The only exception to this policy is when the IVN staff notifies me of a problem on ‘our end.’ Note: this rarely happens. The vast majority of IVN connection problems originate with the student’s system.
- Drops during the class are very disruptive and, similarly, nearly always result from students failing to follow the IVN guidelines. (By using Wi-Fi instead of wired connections, for example). After 3 drops or a prolonged absence of 15 minutes or more, you are asked to NOT reconnect. You will be considered absent unless the drop(s) occurred in the last 30 minutes of class (for a 3 hour session), in which case you’ll be counted as tardy for administrative purposes