On Demand offers new learning opportunities, continuous training

Theresa Edwards

Convenience made it all worth it.

It was also the deciding factor that made more than 60 percent of participants say they were likely to do it again.

And it was just the trial course, but Marilyn Bokrass, the outreach program manager of the College of Continuing Studies, said the success and response was overwhelming.

The College of Continuing Studies is waiting on approval so it can offer On Demand courses for continuing education.

On Demand is a new technology where the user can load a program – in this case a taped course – and fast-forward, rewind or stop it.

“I think it’s really an excellent use of technology,” Bokrass said. “It broadens the range of programming that someone like Time Warner can offer.”

The College of Continuing studies offered a pilot program to nurses at Summa Health Systems to see what the response would be, but Bokrass said if they get university approval for funding, they’re likely to offer courses for other professions, such as lawyers and nurses who also need continuing education credit to keep their certification.

Peggy Doheny, professor in the College of Nursing and an On Demand planning committee member, said there are different ways for nurses to get their continuing education, but the On Demand courses are more convenient.

“It’s a really nifty concept if you have this capability with your cable company like Time Warner,” she said.

Nurses can also get their continuing education by doing courses online or reading a book and taking a test, but Doheny likes the On Demand concept.

“You can take it On Demand and repeat it as many times or whatever and get your (continuing education),” she said.

On Demand television is offered by Time Warner so the university is able to have a channel through its partnership with the company to host the courses. And Time Warner wants to build the content to do more than one course said Tish Biggs, director of educational advancement for Time Warner.

She added that the university would expand its reach with its exclusive Kent State partnership and extend the possibility of making these courses available nationwide.

“I think this is a unique partnership with Kent State University to develop cutting edge distance education,” Biggs said.

Biggs described the course as a new application of an old concept because when she was in college, the university put some courses on television, but it was uncomfortable because the students sat in a big classroom by themselves. She said with the On Demand technology, the user has the option to watch it anywhere they choose.

She said the nurses for the pilot course seemed to like it a lot.

“They liked the opportunity to do this in their own time frame,” she said.

In order for the nurses to get continuing education credit for their licenses, they needed to go to a Web site to register for the course, and, after they watched the program, they had to fill out a survey online as well. After they fill out the survey, the nurse is e-mailed a certificate so they can download and print it to show they’ve earned the continuing education units.

Bokrass hopes the university will come through with a decision by the end of November. She wants to be able to keep Time Warner updated about whether or not the university will still need the On Demand channel.

“With any kind of project that we do, we want to make sure that it’s something the university feels is compatible with the programs it offers in general,” Bokrass said. “My guess is if this gets approved, there will be a lot of excitement about it.”

Contact alumni affairs reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].