The Use of Interactive Television in Expanding the Teaching Mission of the Land-grant University

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Science, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843

The Trans Texas Video Conference Network (TTVN) has been linked to all Texas A&M Univ. campuses and most of the Regional Research and Extension Centers. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has funded an aggressive project of establishing TTVN class rooms in many departments across the College Station campus, including The Horticultural Science Dept. in 1997. The first two Hort courses taught were HORT 422 Citrus and Subtropical Fruits in Fall 1996 and HORT 418 Nut Culture in Spring 1997. This extended the class room 400 miles south to Weslaco, 300 miles north to Texarkana and Dallas, and 700 miles west to El Paso. Students at each site had video and audio interaction with the professor and with each other. Advantages included the availability of college credit courses to areas where this subject matter did not previously exist, which helps fulfill the Land-grant University Mission. Quality was maintained through lecture and lab outlines on Aggie Horticulture, the department's Web home page, term papers written to ASHS serial publicationspecifications, and rigorous examinations monitored by site facilitators. Lecture presentations were presented via Power Point, which took about twice as long to prepare than traditional overhead transparencies. Administrative problems remain, but will be solved when the requested Distance Education Registration Category is initiated so that subvention credit can be shared. The lecture portion of the graduate course, HORT 601 Nutrition of Horticultural Plants, will be taught in the fall semester 1997 at eight sites throughout the state.

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