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Ellen T. Paparozzi and Kimberly A. Williams

Chat rooms and their use in everyday life are becoming increasingly common, and the technology may be a useful tool to link students with experts of a given subject material and each other. In our shared course Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management, we experimented with using a chat room to link students with experts in the field of plant nutrition. Our main goal was to enhance the learning experience of the students by providing them with access to national and international plant nutrition researchers. Web CT was used to create and conduct the chat rooms and a chat etiquette evolved to prevent crosstalk and control the flow of the discussions. Positive outcomes of the chat room use included exposure of students to the technology and beneficial interaction between students and experts. Negative aspects of chat room use included the time involved to coordinate the overall effort and train experts to use the technology; the slow pace of some chats; effective grading; and the superficial coverage of some topics. We are developing modifications for future sessions to allow subjects to be explored in more depth and to improve networking between students and experts.

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Kimberly A. Williams and Ellen T. Paparozzi

A model for the creation of shared synchronous courses between universities has been developed based on our experiences during the development and delivery of an upper-level undergraduate/graduate course in Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management offered by Kansas State Univ. and the Univ. of Nebraska–Lincoln. The course was conducted during the Spring 1999 semester using two-way compressed video so that instructors and students at both sites could see and hear each other in live time. Our model is set up as a flow-chart and currently has 10 steps that include areas such as “Identifying the Need,” “University Must-Do's,” “Distance Class Technology Requirements,” and “Advertising the Course.” Each step details procedures to follow, offers ideas and suggestions, and includes examples taken from our course. Also included is information about web site development and chat room use. The model is easily adapted for use with distance technologies similar to two-way compressed video such as Internet 2. An electronic version of the model can be accessed at

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Kim Williams, Ellen T. Paparozzi, and Jerry Maranville

As universities are required to “right-size,” faculty resources of time and expertise are strained as the institution must cater to undergraduate students while providing a complete graduate curriculum. Thus, many institutions are offering more team taught courses. For a new upper-level undergraduate and lower-level graduate course offering in Plant Nutrition and Nutrient Management, the team consists of faculty from two institutions who each bring different expertise into the classroom. The course utilized weekly chat room discussions to bring students into contact with experts from around the United States and the world. Two-way compressed video was used to allow for synchronous lecture delivery and discussion across sites. A Web site was created to facilitate student interaction and provide chat room access. Multiple student evaluations were conducted to separate learning objectives with the effectiveness of using technology. A flow-chart will be presented which details the steps and problems/accomplishments encountered in successfully delivering this course via distance technologies, including: funding procurement, determining technological compatibility across institutions, delineation of course content, Web page development, and course evaluations.