Traditional-Webcast Class Delivery Format

Thinking About Taking a Class with a Traditional-Webcast Delivery Format?

This type of course has regular meetings just like a traditional face-to-face course. However, in a traditional-webcast format, the instructor will broadcast their computer screen and voice in real-time over the Web. Students that want to participate online can sign in from home during class and see what the professor is doing on the computer and hear them. They can also ask questions and communicate with others students via the system chat interface. Courses taught in the traditional-webcast format are also recorded. This allows students that have missed a class or need to review a class topic; to go back and re-play the class lecture/demonstration.

The image below shows what a Blackboard Collaborate session looks like during a class webcast and recordings. This is a still shot taken from a CIS 195 Web Development I course. There were three students participating from home and they could view the teacher's computer on screen. Notice that one student has posed a question to the instructor using the chat window in the lower-left corner.screen shot of a collaborate session of a class

Frequently Asked Questions About Traditional-Webcast Classes

What computer software and hardware do I need to use Blackboard Collaborate?
You need a recent version web browser like Firefox, along with Blackboard access to your course. Many students recommend having a dual monitor setup so they can watch on one screen while working on the other. This is a nice, but not necessary.
How can I communicate with an instructor during a live class?
Each instructor may have slightly different methods for "talking" to students during a live webcast. Ask about the procedure during the beginning of the term. Blackboard collaborate has a method for a student to "raise their hand", alerting the instructor to a question. Often during class, the instructor may not be able to see the chat window during their normal demonstration. The instructor will need to check the Collaborate session regularly or listen for the student's notification.
How can I take an in-class quiz if I'm not in class?
Each instructor may have a slightly different process for at-home students to take an in-class quiz, so check with him/her early on to make sure you understand the process. For many traditional-webcast format classes, the quiz is started at a certain time using software that is available to students in class or at home. Then, the quiz must be completed and submitted by some deadline either later that day or soon after.
What are some difficulties about participating in a traditional-webcast class from home?
Participating in a class from home is more challenging, even when you can hear the instructor and see what he/she is doing on the computer.
  • Students posing questions in the chat window might not get answered as quickly as they would if they were participating in person. This delay might lead to missing a critical step and feeling left behind.
  • Students that don't have a dual monitor setup can find it tough to keep up in class because they need to frequently switch back and forth from the webcast to the software they're working on. This wouldn't be a big deal in a pure lecture class, but many CIS classes involve software demonstrations where the student is typing/coding as the instructor is explaining or demonstrating a skill.
  • Students can't interact with other student in the face-to-face class. Students using the webcast can easily chat with other webcast students, but those students are often busy and might not be able to take the time to assist a classmate in need.
Overall, students that enjoy the webcast delivery the most tend to be very tech-savvy and on track to earn a B or A in the course. Students that find the work very challenging and are struggling for a C should attend in person more often and rely on the class recordings as additional review.