About Distance Education
Distance Education courses are offered in many disciplines throughout the year. Online course offerings are marketed via UMaineOnline. Other options are available via various technologies and formats including interactive television, compressed video, internet, intranet, video streaming technologies and combinations of these systems. Depending on the technology utilized, students participate in the class “live” or asynchronously through materials archived online. Distance Education satisfies the needs of a diverse student population as near as the University of Maine and as far as the most remote international location. The program offers maximum flexibility, allowing students to plan courses around their demanding schedules. Technology brings previously inaccessible courses to many more students, facilitating degree completion for some and opening new learning pathways for others.
Attention New Online Course Students – Please review our Getting Started Manual.
Categories of Distance Education Technologies
Interactive Television Courses (ITV)
ITV courses are broadcast real-time by faculty from the University of Maine campus to over 100 centers and sites across Maine. Students attending at these sites view the class on TV monitors and interact with the instructor and the other students using a toll-free classroom telephone.
Video Conferencing (i.e Compressed Video, ATM – MPEG2,H.323, Polycom,etc.)
Using a computer, or special hardware, television signals can be compressed and sent through phone and data lines. Through television monitors students interact with classmates in real time throughout Maine and all over the world. Students see, hear, and speak live with people anywhere in the world, creating a global classroom environment.
While the ITV and compressed video courses are available at sites and centers throughout Maine, the online and video streaming courses offer prospective students significant flexibility. Regardless of the time (or time zone) students may access courses at their own convenience. Students contemplating enrolling in an online course should always refer to the course web page to ensure that they meet all technical requirements.
Video Streaming Courses
University of Maine online courses are not simply *text-based* but deliver audio and video on-demand viewing. Audio and video files are delivered through “streaming” technologies which allow for immediate access. There is no waiting for the material to download, and the files do not use any storage space on student’s computer. Student contemplating enrolling in a course that utilizes video streaming should always refer to the course web page to ensure that they meet all technical requirements.
Hybrid courses may mix all of the categories above in any combination and may even include live components. Not all courses can be offered entirely at a distance. Hybrid courses exist to add more flexibility for students in these offerings while ensuring a quality educational experience.