Walters State’s use of advanced technology saved more than the day for a student who faced a mid-semester move.
Stephanie Webb thought her grade point average would dive when her husband’s sudden transfer took the family from Rogersville to the St. Louis area in late October. The move came after the college’s drop deadline. Webb feared the money she paid for fall semester would also be lost.
“The move was very sudden. I was taking a full load, so I assumed I would have to drop everything. I was also very close to completing Walters State, so I wasn’t sure what would happen with my education,” said Webb.
Her fears subsided, though, when she talked to Walters State professors.
Most of her professors immediately transferred her to online sections. One class within her education major, though, was not available online. “Psychology of Human Development for Educators” involves several group projects, explained Darlene Smith, assistant professor of education.
“Walters State did not offer an online equivalent of this class in the fall semester. Stephanie had finished much of the work, so I met with other professors to see what would be the best option,” Smith said.
The best option turned out to be Webb continuing in the class via Facetime, a popular app similar to Skype. Facetime allows real-time communication using computers or iPads.
“This example of Darlene Smith’s use of an iPad is just one way Walters State faculty members are using cutting-edge technology to engage students. In this case, technology played a big role in helping Stephanie reach her educational goal,” said Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president of academic affairs.
An iPad and Facetime allowed Webb to sit in on actual class sessions in real time. Classmates who had previously sat beside Web now adjusted the iPad so Webb would have a good view of Smith during classroom lectures. While Webb saw the classroom on her screen, her classmates could see her on the screen in the classroom.
The class was sad to see Webb move but supported her efforts to finish the semester.
“Stephanie remained our group leader even after she moved. She always made sure everyone was keeping up. She didn’t just use Facetime. She kept in touch with the group with e-mails and text messages,” said Jasmine Mathis, an education major from Morristown who was in Webb’s small project group.
For Webb, completing the class on Facetime provided the convenience of an online class with the interaction of a traditional classroom.
“I really enjoyed the class. With Facetime, I did talk one-on-one with Ms. Smith and my classmates. Even though I had moved away, I got to know them better,” she said. She now lives just inside the Illinois border, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
With fall semester finished and having completed two years at Walters State, Webb will enroll this spring at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville to finish her bachelor’s degree in special education, a dream she has had since high school.
Walters State was recently named one of the country’s most tech-savvy community colleges in an annual survey by “Converge” and the Center for Digital Education.
In the picture: Stephanie Webb, shown on the iPad screen, was able to complete her last semester at Walters State despite a move to the St. Louis area mid-way through the semester. Discussing the final project for a class on human psychology and education are Darlene Smith, assistant professor of education; Webb (on the iPad screen); Jasmine Mathis and Shakai Hurley, both education majors.