Clear Creek Chronicle: Upgrading our online class experience

By Donnie Fox

Published: January 9, 2018

How do you give a student the on-campus class experience when taking an online class? The answer at Clear Creek was to livestream classes. The pilot course was in the spring of 2017 when the Distance Education Department livestreamed Church Revitalization (taught by KBC Regional Consultant Alan Dodson) on YouTube.

The Distance Education Department streamed four classes the fall semester of 2017 and will double that number this spring by livestreaming eight classes. They have moved from YouTube to a software that allows them to mix audio and use multiple camera views. Director of Distance Education Eric Greene is excited about the opportunities this gives the online students.

"Typically, online classes are more PowerPoint lecture-based," said Greene. "They're less intimate — they're impersonal."

By livestreaming classes, Greene believes they can provide a better class environment to online students.

"A livestreamed class not only gives a window into the professor, but gives a window into other students," said Greene. "Some of the feedback we've gotten on classes is the online students really love to hear the discussion that campus students add to the lecture. It furthers their experience and gives them as close as an on-campus experience as they can get online."

The benefits of livestreaming classes are not limited to online students. In fact, the campus students benefit in many ways. Several students have jobs working with livestreaming classes.

"Our livestream classes are basically small studios," said Greene. "We run the same equipment a small recording studio would to record in doing any kind of live video. We've got one person on camera and then one person actually doing the mixing and making sure the audio is good."

The job experience can help these students serve churches through media arts as they learn skills in mixing audio and running cameras.

"The software that we use is very scalable," said Greene. "This company does lots of livestreaming in churches from single camera setups to multi-camera events for churches. You can do it all through the same piece of software."

This cross training in production could offer jobs to students bi-vocationally in addition to the work they can do in churches by streaming and recording services and events. This type of cross training is important for Clear Creek as we seek to give students practical ministry training. This hands-on work gives the school one more way to fully equip students called to ministry.