MIST/C: Open Source Software for Hybrid Classroom and Online Teaching

John M. Pullen, Nicholas K. Clark, and Priscilla M. McAndrews


Internet distance education, hybrid synchronous/ asynchronous


Educational research indicates that the two prevalent approaches to distance education, synchronous and asynchronous, exhibit synergy if combined. Our research addresses how to create the most effective, open source (and therefore robust and inexpensive) software to enable educators to exploit that synergy. The Moodle learning management system provides a high-quality asynchronous online learning environment, but until recently has lacked a matching synchronous component. This paper introduces synchronous open source software for filling that gap: a synchronous online teaching/conferencing system called MIST/C. The Moodle-MIST/C combination has demonstrated its effectiveness in online delivery of our Master of Science in Computer Science Department. MIST/C was created as an enhancement to the Network EducationWare system, on which we have reported in previous IASTED conferences. It was developed as open source software to work seamlessly with Moodle on all major platforms and also to be easy to install and operate. It also is tailored to support simulteaching: teaching a group of students in the hybrid mode delivering to classroom and online at the same time, which conserves teaching resources. This paper describes the design and implementation of MIST/C, including latest advanced features, and our experience using it to deliver our degree program.

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