MEGAN DESBIENS – The Corsair
Pensacola State College began offering online courses almost a decade ago when the Internet and World Wide Web were on its road to fame, yet the speech courses did not gain vast student interest until recently.
Thanks to social media outlets such as YouTube, faculty and staff have been able to simplify the speech courses and make it easier for students to participate from a personal computer.
With merely an Internet connection students can upload videos of their own in a matter of minutes, or seconds depending on a computer’s competence. These videos can be viewed by not only classmates but by people all over the world.
English/Communications Department Head Thom Botsford said, “The videos posted on YouTube, however, are examples of mediated speech not interpersonal, or face-to-face communication. In a sense, the Internet serves as a buffer zone, protecting the speaker from the real audience- the online audience.”
Currently, three different speech course are offered: Basic Speaking and Listening Skills, Interpersonal Communication, and Public Speaking. Both Interpersonal Communication and Public Speaking are three-credit speech courses while Basic Speaking and Listening is a one-credit course that can satisfy most majors’ speech requirement.
Jen Ehrhardt, Cheryl Mallory, Brigette Robinson, and Julie Ruengert are all professors that teach the varying online speech courses. To find course availability and other information students can go to pensacolastate.edu/elearning.com.
With students’ busy schedules, online courses offer a relief to figuring how to cram all the necessary classes into a week filled with life, work, and family. With online courses, a student is able to access material at times other than a scheduled hour and day and receive the same credits as a physical class.
To participate in the speech online courses students must have regular access to the Internet and use of a video camera device.
Online courses at PSC are now monitored by the system in terms of how often a student logs in, the duration of the log in, and what sections were viewed while being logged in to the elearning course.
Online speech also offers a relief to busy students who cannot find time to fit that extra physical class into their schedule. By taking an online course they can receive the same credit hours and do it all from home on their own time, while still meeting given deadlines.
Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Julie Ruengert said, “I never teach a course the same way twice. There is always room for improvement. In the speech class, I need to work on helping students in different locations and time zones find a way to work together effectively for their group project. The interpersonal communication required in the group project is important.”
Pensacola State College will be offering six online speech classes during the Summer 2011 Semester and 10 during the Fall 2011 Semester.
“Multi-media Web communication will be increasingly important in the work world,” said Botsford. “Students who take our online speech classes will have an advantage. They will know better what kind of video to attach to a resume, for instance.”