By JESSICA OROZCO
Between 800 and 1,000 people throughout the United States viewed President Bateman’s question and answer session live on the Internet Thursday afternoon.
President Bateman said he was surprised about the turnout they had online.
“I only expected about 20 people to watch,” he said. “It’s great to have young people around the nation watching. We can only grow from here.”
Brandon Christensen, Student Advisory Council vice president, said he was also excited about the netcast of the session.
“It was a wonderful opportunity because it made it accessible to more people. That’s the whole purpose,” Christensen said.
Scott Johnson, editorial director of BYU NewsNet, said this is the first time the question and answer session was transmitted over the Internet. They transmitted both in video and audio form. Those who could not watch it through video could listen to it through audio, he said. Most of the people used the video form.
About fifteen questions were sent to President Bateman through e-mail from different parts of the United States, including California, Texas, South Dakota and Kansas, Johnson said.
Brandon Christensen said President Bateman answered six of the fifteen questions they received. The questions ranged from topics concerning the BYU health insurance to BYU’s stand on the debate of the Tree Streets east of campus.
President Bateman said BYU did not take a stand on the Tree Streets issue, although they are willing to be part of the discussions. They are working with the city to try to make changes in off-campus housing for the long run, he said.
Another question addressed in the session was about scholarships. President Bateman said said every student already has a scholarship since tuition is so low. Despite the fact, $56 million were added to the scholarship fund and the church contributed $3 million more.
Having the question and answer session online is an extension of President Bateman’s goal of expanding the campus to the world, Johnson said.
Pilot programs in Fiji, Brazil and Mexico are part of this expansion. The programs will allow students from those countries to take courses online, Bateman said. He addressed a student’s question about the price of tuition for those wanting to take courses online. President Bateman said they will take into consideration the fact that most students wanting to take courses online cannot afford it.
Johnson said more on-campus events are going to be transmitted through the Internet in the future. In the past, we have netcast general conference online and had an incredible number of people watching and listening, Johnson said.
“In the future, we’ll be able to go all over campus, even to the state capital and report live on the Internet. We’ve never been able to do this before,” Johnson said.