The Department of Information Technology at Barry University has recently started offering courses and programs in a distance delivery format - in addition to its traditional face-to-face courses and programs - that do not conflict with the university's mission of being a personal, caring, and traditional institute of higher education. In an effort to provide exceptional quality education, Barry has adopted state-of-the-art technologies and engineered a high-performance networking infrastructure. Some of the virtual laboratories, digital libraries, and distance education courses at Barry are transmitted via Internet2, which is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium.
All distance learning courses use Canvas as the hub of all documents and assignment management, distribution, and submission, as well as the system of choice for asynchronous discussion forums. Distance learning courses may use the web conferencing tools to allow students to interact in real-time with their professors and classmates without necessarily being physically in the classroom. This promotes spontaneous class discussions and peer interaction and helps build an online Barry community.
Canvas has effectively served as a central point for course materials (syllabus, lecture notes, etc.), collection of assignments, discussion forums, and grade management. While this helps achieve a high degree of portability, it is not designed for rich video/audio delivery, application interaction, and real-time discussion. To better simulate the interactive experiences of the traditional classroom environment, Microsoft's web conferencing software, Live Meeting, is used to conduct class meetings in real-time and teach classes with each participant in a different location - at home, at the office, or anywhere in the world with fast access to the Internet.
Flexible Online Courses
All flexible online (FLEX) sessions are broadcast live during the class's scheduled date and time.
In-Class And Video Conferencing
This FLEX format gives students the flexibility to participate in the weekly web video-conferencing live broadcast sessions or attend some of the in-class broadcast sessions. Three of the seven sessions (normally first, mid and last sessions) are broadcasted live from a media-equipped classroom at Barry where students may convene for face-to-face interaction. These in-class sessions are hosted at designated campus locations, such as the Pembroke Pines and the Miami Shores campuses. The rest of the seven sessions are broadcast live from a remote location, such as the instructor's office or home.
Fully Online Courses
Instructors teaching in a fully-online format are not required to deliver weekly live sessions via web conferencing or in-person in the classroom. These courses follow the traditional online education where students must complete all their coursework via Canvas. Still, with the availability of the web multimedia conferencing software, instructors are expected to enhance their fully-online courses with ad-hoc web video-conferencing live broadcast sessions as they see fit. It is, therefore, up to each instructor to decide if, when, and how web video-conferencing live broadcast sessions may be used to promote interaction and live participation.