New course management system enhances communications: how technology advances the classroom experience: the case of the university of puerto rico, rio piedras campus

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New Course Management System Enhances Academic communications: How Technology Advances the Classroom Experience, The Case of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus

Ivelisse Hernández, Yamil Kaba University of Puerto Rico/University of Puerto Rico

The objective of this paper is to establish the effectiveness of implementing the use of web-based course management software inenhancing the classroom experience. Students were surveyed on the experience of using two platforms, Vnet and Blackboard. The rise of web education Over time, educators have sought new ways to improve teaching techniques, to help the students in the learning process, and to face the emerging challenges in a dynamic environment. Technology offers a variety of new opportunities that were not available inthe past. The Web provides viable means to increase access to education. Web-based Instruction could be used as an adjunct to teacher-led classrooms as well as in distance education (Owston 1997). “…Webbased tools can facilitate course assessment by transforming a dauntingly cumbersome task into a feasible one, thereby making possible an interactive approach to course assessment”, Celina Byers.Vnet’s features In the search for new ways to teach our courses, in January of 2007, the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, invited a group of professors from different disciplines throughout the campus to participate in a pilot program utilizing Vnet, a Web-based platform which allows professors to record their class and have them available for students’ review, just minutes after theclass is over. After the group’s first meeting we learned that Vnet was founded in 1997 to assist educators in bringing to the classroom the necessary technological tools to present class material in a more efficient way. Vnet implements 3D and animation technologies to help professors improve make their presentations more appealing. It also applies sophisticated desktop videoconferencingcapabilities to reach the students in a different way. Vnet is easy to use. The training process was simple. It only required a Tablet PC and an infocus. The video recording software used by Vnet takes only a few steps to record a class and to have it available for students after the class is over. This allows the students to recapture all class

Proceedings of the 2007 Association for BusinessCommunication Annual Convention. Copyright © 2007, Association for Business Communication

details, review class material, and evaluate their participation in class. It also provides professors a space to improve their lectures. Vnet’s experience From previous research at the University of Houston we learned that Vnet improved learning outcomes especially in the math and science departments. In businessadministration, more specifically, in business communication courses taught in English, the experience has been unique. For example, in the oral business communication courses, the students at first felt intimidated because the class was being recorded. But, after they got the chance to listen to themselves, they found a new way to learn from their mistakes. This experience has also beenencouraging for us instructors, since we get to listen to our classes, share them with some of our peers and continuously look for new ways to enhance our teaching techniques. This promotes better communication with our peers as well as with our students. Vnet provides the students with the possibility to download their classes to their Ipods, giving them an additional tool to review their class workwhile performing other activities such as exercising or commuting. If the professor authorizes it, the students could also print out some class material or supplemental material posted on the site. Methodology To determine students’ feedback on the benefits of this technology, students taking business communication courses in English were given an objective questionnaire, while students taking the...
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