New Mexico Tech Distance Education Hosts Behavioral Health WebCast, May 2, 2006

Health Dept. Meeting by Eric Jurist and Iver Davidson, NMT DE

SOCORRO, N.M., May 2, 2006 – At the request of the state Human Services Department, New Mexico Tech’s Distance Education (DE) department hosted a live statewide webcast of a meeting of the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative on April 28 in the university’s Joseph R. Skeen Library.

The technology that DE employs to deliver courses to students around the world was used to provide live video and audio to participants from around the state who accessed the meeting using a web browser and a regular Internet connection. Participants asked questions of speakers in real time via a text chat window.

The Behavioral Health Collaborative is a joint effort of 15 state agencies and is charged with transforming behavioral health care in New Mexico by coordinating mental health and substance abuse services.

New Mexico Tech DE utilizes the latest technology to create virtual classrooms online that allow any student with a broadband Internet connection to view live video of the instructor, along with any graphics or course materials being used in the class; students can also view a recording of the class session almost immediately after the class ends.

The unexpectedly large crowd who attended the recent webcast/meeting in the Skeen Library’s Tripp Conference Room found themselves uncomfortable as the room temperature quickly rose because of a thermostat malfunction. Those participating from their homes and offices, however, embraced the webcast with much enthusiasm.

Rob Hepler, DE manager of instructional technologies at New Mexico Tech, said that the positive response from online participants was overwhelming.

“All online participants sent chat messages to me, thanking us for making this available to them, and they were impressed that they could actively participate,” Hepler said.

A link to a recording of the session will soon be placed on the Behavioral Health Collaborative’s website, Hepler added.