This fall, distance learning students at NJIT can listen and watch lectures on their iPods.
NJIT is one of an elite group of universities invited to join Apple’s iTunes University. NJIT has been using podcasting to enhance its classes, but through iTunes U, it will be even easier for students to listen and view classes on their computers or iPods. They can thus study and review class material while they are on the go. Professors can post or update content and allow students to upload their own material to their on-line courses. iTunes University uses the same technology as the iTunes Music Store and the content is stored in a secure Apple-hosted repository that can be browsed and searched.
As the state’s science and technology university, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has long been in the forefront of distance learning. NJIT entered the then relatively unknown field of distance learning nearly 30 years ago. And today, NJIT, which coined and trademarked the phrase “Virtual Classroom®,” continues to lead the state in distance learning.
New methods of distance learning, such as podcasting, not only allow traditionally-aged students to learn on the go, but they also make it easier for adults and working professionals to return to college.
The NJIT Weekend University Program, for instance, offers one and a half hour classes on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. The classes meet either once a week or every other week. Typical NJIT classes meet for longer periods or more frequently during the semester. But Weekend University classes deliver the same quality and content in shorter class periods since they are supplemented by distance learning and on-line study.
“Programs like Weekend University that mix traditional learning with the newest methods in distance learning such as podcasting are called hybrids,” said Gale Tenen Spak, PhD, associate vice president of continuing and distance learning education at NJIT. “Hybrids give students the best of traditional learning and distance learning and in so doing represent the future of higher education.”
Adults can begin Weekend University by enrolling in one of three 24-credit undergraduate certificate programs: Information Security, Information Systems Management and Professional Communication. Once students complete a certificate program, they can apply those credits towards the NJIT bachelor’s degree in information technology or communication. And beginning this fall, Weekend University will also offer adult students a master’s degree in engineering management. Students can begin their advanced studies with a 12-credit graduate certificate in Project Management and then apply credits towards an NJIT master’s degree in engineering management.
“Because of the convenience of distance learning, students save time and money by earning two credentials – a certificate and either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree - for the price of one,” said Spak. “Distance learning has not only expanded pedagogical methods but made it more convenient for adults to return to college and earn degrees.”
Fall classes for Weekend University start Aug. 30. For more information about NJIT's Weekend University program visit cpe.njit.edu/weekend and to learn about NJIT's Podcasting Initiative visit podcast.njit.edu.
This year, NJIT will service 2,400 students enrolled in nearly 4,200 distance learning courses in more than three dozen fields. Through NJIT’s distance learning program, students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, graduate certificates and non-credit professional development courses.