Effort helps increase shared services
The North Dakota Interactive Video Network started out with four sites and a few classes back in 1989. It didn’t take long before IVN grew to become an essential campus tool for the delivery of courses and degree programs to students geographically displaced from the host institution. And while other delivery tools and technologies have come and gone during these past 26 years, IVN continues to be one of the most popular and dependable academic technologies within the North Dakota University System.
The Fall 2015 semester recorded the highest student enrollment on record while the total number of courses were slightly down from last fall’s record numbers. Nearly 3,000 students enrolled in IVN courses this fall, which is about 250 more students than the Fall 2014 term. However, the total number of courses delivered dropped slightly, from 228 last year to 212 this year.
Overall, more than 100 instructors taught dual credit, undergraduate and graduate courses.
Jerry Rostad, Assistant CIO for Core Technology Services of the NDUS, points to a couple reasons why IVN’s staying power continues to be strong.
“First, IVN most closely replicates the traditional classroom,” Rostad said. “Essentially, we are extending the room boundaries using cameras, microphones and televisions. Second, the dependability of the technology has always been pretty good. The technology just works.”
For high school students looking to get a start on college courses, they could look to the five community colleges, Dickinson State University and Mayville State University for 100 and 200-level courses in topics ranging from English to Psychology. During fall 2015 semester, 592 students took those opportunities that allowed them to take advantage of classes offered elsewhere in the state without having to drive there.
At the undergraduate level, most NDUS colleges and universities offered some form of IVN courses, with DSU offering 34. Departments offering IVN classes included Business, Computer Technology/Computer Information Systems, Education/Elementary Education, Health Professions, Human Resources, Natural Resources, Math/Science, Social Sciences, Humanities, Nursing, Engineering, Criminal Justice and Social Work.
Consortiums like the Dakota Nursing Program rely on collaborative efforts through the participating colleges. Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College and Williston State College utilize IVN for their offerings of the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs there. In total, 609 students were able to take courses offered under those programs, not only at the participating schools but in other NDUS institutions and one tribal college.
For graduate students, 29 courses were also offered for masters and doctoral levels, which 427 students took advantage of this past semester alone.
Chancellor Mark Hagerott said that the increase in IVN usage showed one clear path forward on how campuses could share services in the form of interactive class time.
“The Interactive Video Network is clearly a winner when applied to certain coursework throughout our university system,” Hagerott said. “I’m hopeful that as time goes on more faculty, staff, students and even taxpayers will experience the value in this conferencing service, whether it’s used for courses, programs, or meetings.”