February 27, 2006

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Innovative distance learning class brings together students fromVSU, Czech Republic, and Turkey

Valdosta State University students in Dr. Jiri Stelzer's KSPE 2000 class will be joined on Tuesday, February 28, 2006, at 2 p.m., by students and university presidents from Palacky University in the Czech Republic and Abant Izzet Baysaal University in Turkey via an innovative international distance learning program. VSU Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Louis Levy and the presidents of the two universities will receive a special demonstration on how technology is being integrated into their classrooms.

Internet-based video conferencing, while not new in itself, allows students in three different countries to attend class in a new innovative way. Students, who earn credit at their home institutions, can participate in class discussions and work together on small group projects as if they were in the same room. Students can also access course content and communicate with each other via online discussion forums and email using the WebCT Vista online course management system at VSU.

Stelzer, an assistant professor in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department, created the international distance learning course at VSU to help students in his Health and Wellness class understand cultural differences in health sciences and personal attitudes about health. Research conducted by Stelzer and faculty at the collaborating universities has shown that students appreciate and benefit from the exposure to culturally diverse health care approaches.

The use of technology will also allow the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to enter the three classrooms, in April, to give a one-hour presentation on their space program.

Stelzer's class meets in the Special Education & Communication Disorders Building (next to the University Bookstore on Patterson Street) in room 203. For more information, contact Stelzer at (229) 333-5906.

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