WebNet+ Offers the Best of Both Courses
November 22, 2016
(ST. LOUIS) – Students at Webster University have always had the flexibility of choosing
whether they want to be sitting in a classroom for a course – or logging into an online
learning center such as World Classroom. While these two choices allowed students
to complete their degrees either “online” or “in person” – students are now getting
a third option at Webster University.
WebNet+ courses began in Fall 2015 and allow Webster students from any location to enroll in a class and participate at a specific time, from the location that is most convenient to them. This gives students the convenience of an online course with the live interaction of an in-person course. It also allows students to connect with subject matter experts located in another area.
Wayne Davis teaches Business Politics and Law (BUSN 5500) via WebNet+. This course has students participating live in St. Louis, online from all over the world and via video conferencing from Geneva and Vienna.
“I think this format incorporates the best of both worlds,” said Davis. “ Students get to see me and I see them. We interact with one another – we build a relationship by having these eight hours together and it serves to reinforce the idea that we are accessible and available and real live people who care about their education.”
That interaction with the professor and other students was one of the things that attracted Nimco Mohamed. She is getting her MA in Management and Leadership in Webster University Geneva and was able to take the course and talk with students from St. Louis, Leiden and other locations.
“What I enjoyed most about the course is the ability to interact with students who are overseas and exchange ideas,” said Mohamed. “You get to hear different views on business topics which has been great. You can learn more and you can learn faster with this immediate conversational exchange.”
Davis said that the global reach of his course is an enormous benefit to the students.
“I think it brings a greater sense of community and adds to the global nature that Webster strives to provide for its students,” he said. “It helps students reach out and understand others and their perspectives. They might not have this type of global connection or contact in their other courses.”
While not all of the Webnet+ courses have global student participation, students appreciate taking advantage of courses that they might not otherwise have access to in their areas.
Susan Schultz is campus director for Webster University at Scott Air Force Base where they have three WebNet+ courses. Students there appreciate the convenience of being able to have the “in-person” class experience for a course that might have previously been cancelled due to low interest from that location.
“We have two students participating in a WebNet+ course with Adjunct Faculty, Richard Nida,” said Schultz. “With only two Scott AFB students interested in the course, we would not have been able to offer it on campus and students aren’t always interested in taking an online course. Now, they’re able to take part and also interact with faculty and students from Camp Lejeune which adds to the overall experience."
While only a few courses are currently offered with the Webnet+ technology, Davis said that he thinks more classes will be offered this way in the future.
“I think these hybrid classes bring a lot to the table and serve to enhance our current courses,” he said. “I think more and more students want this type of course to change the pace of the traditional online learning environment.”
For a listing of courses and more information on Webnet+, visit the information page on Webster University’s website.