UMass Amherst Telecourses to be Broadcast on WGBY

July 31, 2000

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AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts and WGBY, of Springfield, have joined together to offer UMass courses to viewers of the public television station.

Beginning Mon. Sept. 11, WGBY will broadcast programming for two courses, "Poets of New England" and "Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle," from 6:15-6:45 a.m. Videos for the poets course will air Mondays and Thursdays; those for the nutrition course will appear Tuesdays and Wednesdays. "UMass in Action," a magazine-style program about the University, will be broadcast on Fridays.

The three-credit courses are being offered by the University''s Division of Continuing Education through a program known as "Bringing the Classroom Home." Students complete coursework by viewing the related videos (as they are broadcast or at their convenience, by taping each program for later viewing), and interacting with the course Website or through printed material mailed to students upon request.

"This partnership is one of several initiatives we are pursuing that continues the University''s position as an emerging national leader in the use of instructional technology in its many forms," says Cora Marrett, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at UMass. "It provides an excellent opportunity for faculty to provide additional opportunities for students in western Massachusetts."

Norman Aitken, vice provost for instructional technology, who will direct the programming, says he anticipates the telecourses will be "valuable to many students who do not have time to come to campus." He also notes, "Since the video programming is of high quality, I also believe it will be of interest to the general viewing audience whether or not they take a course from the University." The programs to be aired are being produced by Academic Instructional Media Services (AIMS) at UMass.

"The UMass-WGBY partnership strengthens WGBY''s commitment to providing distance-learning opportunities for the region''s students, as well as the public at large," says Deborah Onslow, general manager of WGBY.

Kevin Aiken, director of continuing education at UMass, says the telecourses are "a first" for his division. "We look forward to using this new technology as yet another means of providing the public with access to education."

Additional information about the courses and registration and fees, may be obtained by contacting the UMass Division of Continuing Education at 413/545-0530 or www.umass.edu/wgbycourses.