Creighton U Updates Distance Learning Program with iLinc

Creighton University in Omaha, NE has implemented a suite of services from Web and audio conferencing company iLinc to update the distance-learning platform for its online doctor of pharmacy program. The school evaluated the software from several Web conferencing vendors and chose the solution from iLinc, in part because it integrated with Active Directory to enable single sign-on and authentication.

The program requires that students take "lecture" classes online and use Web-based books and course materials, but that they come to campus in the summer for lab work.

"iLinc had the tools we needed--interactive whiteboarding, desktop and application sharing, and other robust features," said Tracy A. Chapman, executive director for e-learning and technology for the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. "Plus, the pricing met our needs for concurrent seat use and was very fair."

"Beyond phones, e-mail, and IM, iLinc gives our off-site students a strong collaboration tool to work on projects together in real-time," Chapman said. "They can even do class presentations just like campus students. It's a more positive experience for the distance students than we could offer before."

An earlier generation of the web platform allowed for application sharing, message boards and chat, but little other interactivity.

After implementing iLinc, the instructors began teaching some courses on campus and online at the same time. As the professor would lecture and facilitate the traditional classroom, an instructional designer would assist by running the iLinc portion of the class--sharing applications and documents and engaging in chat and other interactivity with distance learners.

The faculty also uses the platform to provide virtual office hours and exam reviews.

Creighton has 4,000 undergraduate and 2,800 professional and graduate students.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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