A Virtual Classroom Via Dataconferencing: A Multi-Institutional Experience
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This paper presents the experience of five faculty from four universities who are co-developing and team teaching courses using the world-wide web (WWW). In particular two novel power engineering courses, Flexible Control of Transmission Systems and Flexible Control of Distribuction Systems, introduce the student to the application of power electronic-based controllers, known specifically as flexible AC transmission systems (FACTS) controllers, to enhance the performance of the transmission and distribution systems in an electric power system. In order to leverage faculty expertise in the various topics included in each course, a unique partnership was formed among five faculty from the following universities: University of Arkansas, Kansas State University, University of Missouri--Rolla and Purdue University. In order to achieve the most effective presentation, in the presence of geographical, cost, time and technology constraints, the co-developers decided to pursue various distance learning strategies to link the four universities together in a live interactive virtual classroom utilizing dataconferencing software and the WWW. In this paper we address the trials and tribulations of our experience. In particular, we discuss the use of video tape technology by mail, the use of live audio and video via an integrated service digital network (ISDN) approach, and lastly, dataconferencing software in conjunction with telephone conferencing. Each of these alternative methodologies are examined in detail and are compared and contrasted from a cost and pedagogical point of view based on our experiences