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ISDN broadens options in university's classrooms.

ISDN Broadens Options In University's Classrooms Michigan State University put a personalized twist on remote learning when it demonstrated the potential of ISDN in the classroom.

The university brought ISDN lines into classes taught by Dr. Robert LaRose of the Telecommunication Department. In one instance it provided remote access from a classroom to MSU's Ethernet local area network.

Using screen sharing software and two Infotron terminal adapters, one connected to a portable computer in the classroom and the other to a distant laboratory computer, commands could be executed remotely on the network from the classroom computer.

This let students in the classroom see the application on an overhead projection screen as it would appear to them in the lab. The external adapter was limited to 19.2 kb/s, but with little delay, says LaRose.

"This made it possible to present the assignment to a class which was too large to fit into the laboratory, without the expense and delay of installing an Ethernet connection in the classromm itself."

In another case, a wheelchair-bound student unable to get to the floor of a sunken auditorium where required discussion sessions took place went instead to a prearranged accessible site.

One ISDN B channel delivered the audio portion of the lecture to the student. The second B channel was used to share computer graphic slides with the student as they were shown in the classroom. The B voice channel was tied into the auditorium sound system so the student could hear and respond to questions.

From his office, LaRose delivered a lecture to a large classroom, using screen sharing software and a Telrad terminal adapter. Computerized slides were projected in the classroom through one B channel connecting LaRose's office PC to one in the lecture hall. The second B channel carried his lecture to the classroom sound system.

"Although the lecture was transmitted just from one end of campus to the other, it obviously would work from any remote location once ISDN connectivity is established," LaRose says.

LaRose and a student working on an assignment shared files on their PCs on one B channel while talking on the phone on the other B channel. LaRose executed commands on her PC from his.

ISDN can revamp distance education, LaRose insists.

"Until now, distance learning meant use of broadcast television on costly private microwave or satellite networks to extend the impersonal atmosphere of the large lecture hall.

"With ISDN we can personalize the educational experience. The intimate atmospher of the small classroom can be restored while still serving large numbers of students in a cost-effective way."

Incidentally, LaRose notes that ISDN classroom lines were "paid for" lines, not field trial. That, he says, makes the line in his office the first real ISDN line in Michigan.
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Title Annotation:integrated services digital network
Publication:Communications News
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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