Recent studies suggest that classroom collaboration is not always successful. We designed a course that motivates students to provide adequate help for writers. In this course college students studying to become technical communicators mentored high school students in language arts and content area courses. In order to overcome barriers of schedules, distances, and resources, we created a multimedia system that combined face-to-face communication and networking in one configuration. We collaborated with University of Minnesota groups, local high school personnel, US WEST Communications, Inc., and Compression Labs, Inc. in the development of the system.
Interactive compressed video (ICV), also called videoconferencing, is increasingly popular for distance education. While ICV shares many features with satellite technology, its two-way audio and video make it more interactive and versatile, at a lower cost. The interactivity can help meet the instructor’s concern about appropriate methods for teaching writing. The lower costs, and the versatiliy to send as well as receive courses, can help meet the administrator’s concerns about maximizing the return on investment.