Satellite Education and Distance Learning
There is a new way for an instructor to teach either an individual or for that matter a class of students at a
remote location. This is called e-learning and it holds great promise for the education of those who are not able
to attend conventional classroom education. Satellite e-learning is a great instructional media for panel
discussions, demonstrations, brainstorming, drilling, practicing, lectures or role playing.
The kind of learning environment this promotes is known as "synchronous," meaning two way. Also called
distributed media, this BTV/IP (Business Television/Internet Protocol) has revolutionized the way education is
conducted in some remote places.
The way e-learning works is that it uses Internet protocol (IP) for distribution and networking. The reason IP
is so adaptable to this task is that it can bypass the concept of the WAN (Wide Area Network). One of the benefits
of this arrangement is that remote students can attend the class by means of audio teleconferencing utilizing
keypad and audio technology.
The really great advantage of satellite e-learning is that all the students in the class can participate with
the class and the instructor. What’s different? Just the fact that all the participants are at different locations.
The instructor can still present all the course materials via audiovisual channels.
Satellite e-learning is revolutionizing the distance learning community because no matter where they physically
reside, the students can have their questions answered in real time rather than in the time it takes for a letter
to go and return.
The advent of satellite e-learning has introduced technology that eliminates problems formally associated with
bandwidth such as slow transmission and distorted images. These were physical limitations of the Internet.
As long as the remote locations have the ability to support the necessary equipment, there are no limitations to
the number of students that can remotely receive multi media rich course work using satellite propagation
technology. They simply need the proper equipment on their end.
The major stumbling block of e-learning is the infrastructure and technology needed to support it. Currently, it
is very costly to support. It also has the requirement of continual support, which adds to the cost. It is capital
intensive to plan and implement, and a physical location with all the necessary equipment must be established.
Not only is the equipment needed, but a broadcast engineer must be retained at all times to ensure the proper
operation of all the equipment. The instructors must also be trained to deliver their lecture to a camera rather
than an audience.
The remote locations that are the recipients of the satellite broadcasts (satellite downlinks) need the proper
equipment to receive the data. Problems can arise on this end because the signal has to transverse a LAN (Local
Area Network) prior to the student receiving it. This network must be configured properly.
Also, there is no flexibility of scheduling with satellite e-learning and for some, this what was attractive
about distance learning to begin with. With satellite broadcasting, the students must be available at the same time
that the broadcast is taking place.