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I. The Expanding Universe of Distance Learning

New National Survey on Higher Education Distance Learning

Internet Access in Elementary and Secondary Schools

The 1999 National Survey of Information Technology in Higher Education

Expanding Partnerships

Teacher Education Online

Pew Grant Program for Course Redesign

Secondary School Online Developments


II. Policy Issues Affecting Distance Learning

AAUP Policies on Distance Education and Intellectual Property

Security and Privacy

iCopyright.com Launches Automated Copyright Permission Process


III. Virtual Universities

United States Open University Begins U.S. Operation

Western Governors University Update

Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University


IV. Update of Governmental Activities

Federal Trade Commission Addresses Privacy Concerns

The Emerging Role of ICANN

Copyright Office Issues Guidelines for Distance Education

U.S. Department of Education


Distance Learning in Education Series

Distance Learning Update No. 1
February 1999

Distance Learning Update No. 2
June 1999

Distance Learning Update No. 3
April 2000

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Distance Learning in Higher Education

CHEA Update • Number 3

I. The Expanding Universe of Distance Learning


New National Survey on Higher Education Distance Learning

In December 1999, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the United States Department of Education (USDE) released a new national survey on distance learning in higher education. This report—Distance Education at Postsecondary Education Institutions: 1997-98—analyzes changes in distance learning among degree-granting institutions of higher education since the 1994-95 NCES survey of higher education institutions. It provides new information about distance learning in postsecondary education at two- and four-year degree- or certificate-granting institutions. The study shows:

  • In 1997-98, almost 44 percent of all higher education institutions offered distance-based courses, an increase of one-third since 1994-95. Growth since 1994-95 has been greatest among institutions already engaged in distance learning prior to the 1995 survey.

  • Public postsecondary institutions were more likely to offer distance learning than private institutions: 78 percent of public four-year and 62 percent of public two-year institutions offered some form of distance-delivered courses. This contrasts with 19 percent of private four-year and 5 percent of private two-year institutions. Larger institutions tended to offer distance education: 87 percent of institutions with more than 10,000 students offered distance-based classes, while 19 percent of institutions with fewer than 3,000 students did so.

  • Total enrollments in postsecondary, credit-granting distance learning courses in 1997-98 were 1,363,670; slightly more than half (690,700) were in public two-year colleges.

  • Most of the growth between 1994-95 and 1997-98 was in courses in higher education institutions that use asynchronous computer-based technology (primarily over the Internet) rather than two-way or one-way video. Use of video-based technology as a medium for distance delivery did not grow.

  • Tuition and fee charges for students in postsecondary distance-delivered courses tended to be the same as for campus-delivered classes. Three-fourths of institutions reported identical tuition structures, although one-third did augment standard tuitions with some form of enhanced student fees for distance-delivered classes.

  • Approximately 8 percent of all two- and four-year postsecondary institutions offered college-level degree or certificate programs designed to be completed entirely via distance learning. These programs were likely to be at the graduate and first professional level in the fields of business and management, health professions, education, and engineering.

  • The percentage of two- and four-year higher education institutions offering either certificate or degree programs by distance technology declined between 1994-95 and 1997-98, from 23 percent to 22 percent. The number of programs offered increased from 690 degree programs in 1994-95 to 1,190 in 1997-98, and from 170 certificate programs to 330.

The survey is available on the USDE website at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2000013.)


Internet Access in Elementary and Secondary Schools
Elementary and secondary schools also have experienced rapid growth in distance-delivered learning. According to the report, Technology in Education 1999 (Market Data Retrieval or MDR, a unit of Dun and Bradstreet Corporation), 90 percent of U.S. public elementary and secondary schools are connected to the Internet and 49 percent of schools are equipped with high-speed connections such as T-1 lines. The ratio of students per computer has dropped, with schools averaging six students to every computer, down from an average of eleven students to every computer five years ago. Seventy-one percent of schools report at least one classroom having Internet access, “demonstrating the shift of Internet and information technology from libraries and computer labs to classrooms.” These data illustrate that schools are progressing toward the goals issued by the U.S. Department of Education that every school be connected to the Internet by the year 2000 and that there be one modern computer for every five students.

The report, as well as data from the NCES report Internet Access in Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-95, demonstrates that the “digital divide”—the gap in the availability of technology based on the area where a school is located—is present at the elementary and secondary level. According to the MDR report, 94 percent of schools located in affluent communities have Internet access, while 84 percent of schools in poor areas have access. The NCES data show that the ratio of students to computers with Internet access is highest—17 students per computer—at schools with high minority enrollments and a large percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. In contrast, the ratio for schools with low minority enrollments and low poverty rates is six students per computer.
The MDR website is http://www.schooldata.com
Internet-Access may be found at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2000002


The 1999 National Survey of Information Technology in Higher Education
The Campus Computing Project, initiated in 1990 to study issues related to computer and information technology in higher education, recently released the results of its tenth annual survey of information technology (IT) in higher education. The results are based on data provided by officials at 557 two- and four-year degree-granting colleges and universities throughout the United States from a survey conducted during the summer of 1999. Major findings include:

  • Forty-seven percent of the institutions offer at least one course entirely over the Internet.

  • Fifty-four percent of college courses offered at these institutions are now using e-mail, up from 44 percent in 1998 and 20 percent in 1995.

  • Thirty-nine percent of college courses are now using Internet resources as part of the syllabus, compared to 33 percent in 1998 and 15 per-cent in 1996. Twenty-eight percent of courses have a website, compared to approximately 23 percent in 1998 and 9 percent in 1996.

  • A strategic plan for IT is in place at 61 percent of higher education institutions, an increase from 50 percent in 1998.

  • Access to student services via the Internet continues to grow: 70 percent of institutions provide undergraduate admissions applications over the Internet, and 77 percent post their catalogs online.

Forty-six percent of public research universities report some type of policy addressing faculty-developed intellectual property on the campus website, compared to approximately 23 percent of private universities and 36 percent of public four-year colleges and universities. The majority of institutions have not developed campus policies that clarify ownership of course materials and other faculty-developed intellectual property posted on their websites: only 28 percent of institutions have such policies in place, however, this is an increase of 5 percent since 1998.

The challenge to assist faculty to integrate technology into instruction is a major issue on college campuses. The survey also shows that many campuses have limited IT support staff. The survey cites the IT research organization Gartner Group recommendation that organizations have one IT person for every fifty to seventy-five users, whereas colleges and universities report an average of one IT support person for every 150 to 800 users.
The Campus Computing Project website is http://www.campuscomputing.net and the Gartner Group website is http://www.gartnergroup.com.


Expanding Partnerships
Many institutions have advanced distance education offerings by working with other organizations. Partnerships may be between two or more higher education institutions, or may involve businesses or nonprofit organizations. The following are examples:

  • Research Universities Team Up to Form New Online Directory
    Fourteen of the largest research universities in the United States and Canada announced in June 1999 that they will jointly market distance education courses through a central web directory. The directory will consist of classes offered by institutions in the Research University I Carnegie Classification (universities that award a high number of doctorates and receive large levels of federal funding for research) and will be coordinated by the University of Washington. Currently, the participating institutions are

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
    • New York University;
    • Pennsylvania State University;
    • Stanford University;
    • University of British Columbia;
    • University of California at Berkeley;
    • University of California at Los Angeles;
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
    • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities;
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
    • University of Pennsylvania;
    • University of Texas at Austin;
    • University of Washington; and
    • University of Wisconsin at Madison.

    Institutions send the information they wish to post (at no charge) to the organizers at the University of Washington. Organizers of the directory have invited all Research I universities to participate.
    The group’s website, which is not yet operational, will be http://www.r1.edu.

  • New Massachusetts Distance Learning Consortium
    Hoping to promote distance education in the state of Massachusetts, a group of two- and four-year colleges have created the Massachusetts Distance Learning Consortium. In September 1999, the group published a catalog of all distance education classes offered by member institutions. Courses are listed for Bridgewater State College, Salem State College, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massasoit Community College, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
    The New Massachusetts Distance Learning Consortium website is http://www.umassonline.net/DistanceLearning.html

  • Regents College and Peterson’s
    Regents College in Albany, New York, and Peterson’s (a company producing educational products and services including publications, software, and online activities) have formed a partnership to develop a support system for those interested in pursuing a degree through distance learning. The partnership offers two main services through its website, launched during the summer of 1999. The first service is a database of approximately 10,000 distance education courses at accredited institutions. The second service, QuickStart Personal Review, pairs potential students with advisors who will help evaluate available opportunities for distance learning. This service is targeted to students who have already earned college credit but have not yet finished their degrees.
    The Regents College and Peterson’s website.

  • Regents College Works with Information Technology Leaders to Award Credit for Certifications
    Regents College will soon begin awarding credit for technical skills gained through industry certification programs. Students who successfully complete Microsoft and the Computing Technology Industry Association industry certifications will be given credit towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at Regents. Regents also will supply online resources for students in the program, such as study materials, credit tracking, and online study groups. Technical certifications for information technology professionals have been awarded by entities outside of the higher education community, such as software companies, for some time. For example, over the past twelve years, CompTIA has awarded more than 120,000 professionals A+™ Certification, which assesses basic computer service and repair technology software.
    The Regents College website is https://www.excelsior.edu/ (Renamed Excelsior College in 2001).

  • Unext.com
    In June 1999, Unext.com, an Internet startup company, announced the creation of a virtual institution offering executive training courses and eventually a full M.B.A over the Internet. The group includes Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. In the short term, the institutions will focus on developing courses that will be sold to corporations, which will then deliver them via the Internet. If the venture is successful, participating institutions estimate that in a five- to eight-year period, royalties paid to each university could amount to $20 million.
    The Unext.com website is http://www.unext.com


Teacher Education Online
California law requires completion of a post-baccalaureate program in teacher education and a passing grade on the state licensure examination for a public school teaching credential. Individuals who do not have the requisite credentials may still be hired under what are called “emergency” credentials. To address the shortage of credentialled teachers, six campuses in the California State University (CSU) system (Fresno, Fullerton, Hayward, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, and Pomona) have joined together to create an Internet-based certification program. The program lasts eighteen months, roughly the same length as campus-based credential programs. The goal is to allow teachers who are already in the classroom on emergency credentials to obtain their full credentials while they remain on the job. In developing the CalStateTEACH program, administrators turned to the expertise of the Open University to develop courses. CSU has adopted a model similar to the Open University program, combining the use of the Internet, texts, and videotaped instruction to deliver content to the students. Frequent contact with faculty is an important feature of the model. Students will be assigned an advisor from one of the participating campuses and will meet with that advisor on a regular basis to evaluate their progress. Following successful completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the state licensing examination to obtain their full teaching credentials.
The CalStateTEACH website is http://www.calstateteach.net


Pew Grant Program for Course Redesign
The Pew Charitable Trusts have created a new grant program to help institutions enhance the quality of their distance education courses. The $6 million Pew Grant Program of Course Redesign runs from 1999 until 2002, awarding ten grants of $200,000 per year. The purpose of the program is to encourage institutions to use technology in redesigning their instructional approaches to save money and improve quality. The first round of grants was awarded in September 1999. The grantees were:

  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis;
  • Pennsylvania State University;
  • Rio Salado College (Maricopa Community College District);
  • State University of New York at Buffalo;
  • University of Central Florida;
  • University of Colorado at Boulder;
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
  • University of Southern Maine;
  • University of Wisconsin at Madison; and
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

The Pew Grant Redesign website is http://www.center.rpi.edu


Secondary School Online Developments
Initiatives to provide online learning to high school students have emerged in a number of states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah. Some of the programs are designed particularly to reach special subgroups of students, such as gifted students taking Advanced Placement courses or limited English proficiency students receiving English as a Second Language instruction. These “virtual high school” courses might otherwise be unavailable to students at their local high school. The programs sometimes operate under the aegis of the state university system or are created by a state government, while others are offered by for-profit providers. The following examples illustrate the types of activities occurring at the secondary level:

  • Kentucky has arranged for Class.com to provide online courses through the Kentucky Virtual High School. Courses were available in January 2000. Class.com is a for-profit subsidiary created by the University of Nebraska in April 1999 to sell web-based courses over the Internet. The program emerged from a University of Nebraska-sponsored high school correspondence course program started in 1929 to enable rural high school students to obtain courses required for college admission. Class.com has been operating since July 1999.
    The Class.com website is http://www.class.com

  • The Virtual High School (VHS) is a national partnership of high schools formed in the Fall of 1997 and financed in part by a U.S. Department of Education Technology Challenge Grant. Jointly sponsored by Hudson Public Schools in Massachusetts and the Concord Consortium, the Virtual High School involves approximately eighty-eight high schools in thirty states that agree to give reciprocal credit for courses offered. Reaching students primarily in the ninth through twelfth grades, the VHS curriculum includes elective classes in areas that are not offered by most high schools because of low enrollments.
    The Virtual High School website is http://vhs.concord.org

  • The University of California set up a virtual high school in December 1998 to offer Advanced Placement courses to students who otherwise would not be able to take them. More than half of the University of California’s online high school courses are being provided by Class.com. Currently, sixty-four students from fourteen high schools participate in the courses.
    The University of California Virtual High School website is http://www.uccp.org/


II. Policy Issues Affecting Distance Learning

AAUP Policies on Distance Education and Intellectual Property
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) created a Special Committee on Distance Education and Intellectual Property Issues in June 1998. The committee was charged with recommending policies to address faculty concerns about distance education. In June 1999, the committee reported its findings and proposed policies to the association. The policies regarding distance learning state that the faculty role in distance learning classes should be the same as in traditional classes, with the faculty retaining their usual responsibilities for choosing and presenting material. However, since new technologies tend to be used in distance learning classes, the association recommends that professors be given enough time to become familiar with the tools that they will be using.

In addressing intellectual property issues, AAUP recommends that the copyright of materials produced by faculty members should belong to them except in the following circumstances:

  • Works Made for Hire
    These encompass works produced by a faculty member for “a specific requirement of employment or as an assigned institutional duty.” Also included in this category are works that are commissioned by the university from an independent contractor or from a faculty member, with the provision that the work must fall outside of that person’s usual responsibility.

  • Contractual Transfers
    When a copyright is held by a faculty member, that person may transfer either a limited license or the full copyright to the institution or a third party. The transfer must comply with applicable copyright laws and be reflected in a signed document.

  • Joint Works
    In limited circumstances, material may be considered to be co-owned by an institution and a faculty member. This frequently occurs in the development of distance learning courses, where the faculty member will con-tribute courseware and the institution will provide specialized services such as technical support to adapt the courseware for use in a distance learning environment.

The AAUP Sample Distance Education Policies and Contract Language website is http://www.aaup.org/issues/copyright-distance-education-intellectual-property/sample-policy-language


Security and Privacy
Issues of privacy protection and Internet security continue to be concerns for institutions offering courses through distance learning. One aspect of this is revealed in the growing debate about the practice of for-profit companies providing colleges with web services that track student interests through numeric codes or “cookies” (see, for example, Thomas Ehrlich’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Education on September 24, 1999, and the response in “Letters to the Editor” on November 5, 1999). The cookies allow the web managers to develop a profile of a student’s Internet activities, which can then become the basis for customized advertising solicitations. The concern over inappropriate solicitation is leading some colleges to avoid using commercial web companies or to require those companies to publish privacy policies that inform students of the potential use of personal information. In addition, the National Education Association (NEA) has developed guidelines for “Security and Privacy” policies, designed to protect an institution’s records as well as individual students. The NEA encourages all institutions to develop privacy policies that include an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for computing resources and “rights and responsibilities” statements that define accountability and responsibility practices for both providers and consumers of computing resources.
The National Education Association Focus on Technology website excerpt is http://www.nea.org/home/33043.htm

Another effort to address Internet security is being led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This method would develop “digital certificates” to verify the identities of students and other users of university Internet functions. The digital certificate is a code that identifies either the individual or the institution accessing the function and was first used by MIT in November 1999. The certificate is tied to two encryption or code keys, one that is issued to the individual and one that identifies which software, policies, or practices that a particular user is allowed to access. MIT has joined with the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN) in an experiment to offer digital certificates on a trial basis to MIT, Princeton University, and Georgia Technology University. CREN is a membership organization of network companies and higher education institutions based in Washington, DC, that provides technology training to faculty, staff, and students through distance education. The expectation is that digital certificates or other forms of encrypting data and identifying users will be needed at research institutions to protect library resources and ensure the integrity of the research, in addition to online courses.
The Corporation for Research and Educational Networking website is http://www.cren.net


iCopyright.com Launches Automated Copyright Permission Process
iCopyright.com has launched the first automated copyright permission and reprint clearinghouse on the Internet. The company was founded in 1998 with the aim of significantly easing the process of obtaining permission to reprint copyrighted materials. The free service is based on two types of account setups. The first enables publishers and copyright holders to register their materials and choose the rules for use. The second allows an individual user (the licensee) to initiate a licensing request simply by clicking on a logo next to the material they would like to use. Using this format, publishers will be able to track what types of licenses are being requested for what material and reduce staff time spent processing requests. Users will have immediate access to desired material at a central location on the Internet. After running a pilot program in conjunction with such publishers as Barron’s Online, Newsweek Interactive, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Wall Street Journal Interactive, iCopyright began full service in January 2000.
The iCopyright.com website is http://www.icopyright.com


III. Virtual Universities

United States Open University Begins U.S. Operation
The U.S. Open University obtained degree-granting authority in Delaware in May 1998 and achieved candidacy status from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in February 1999. The U.S.-based institution will use the Open University in the United Kingdom as a model for developing course materials in conjunction with a variety of different delivery methods, including textbooks, video, and computer-mediated instruction. The U.S. Open University will introduce its masters in business administration program in May 2000. In Fall 2000, more than fifteen courses will be offered in computing, English, information technology, humanities, and management.
The Open University website is http://www.open.ed


Western Governors University Update
Western Governors University (WGU) was reviewed for accreditation candidacy by the Inter-Regional Accrediting Committee (IRAC) in February 2000. IRAC, which was formed in 1997 to consider WGU’s application for accreditation, consists of representatives from four regional accrediting commissions: the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission on Institutions of Higher Education); the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (Commission on Colleges); and both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities and the WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Eligibility status was granted in May 1998. Information about WGU candidacy status will not be available until at least May 2000.
The Western Governors University website is http://www.westgov.org


Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University
In May 1999, Kentucky joined other states with virtual institutions in the introduction of Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University (KCVU). KCVU does not offer courses, but emphasizes the delivery of broad student support services through the Internet. This will include access to university representatives anytime from anywhere. Other services are an online library, career advising, online registration, and financial aid information. With this array of support services, KCVU not only hopes to attract students, but to keep students enrolled until they complete their degree as well. In addition, the virtual university will feature a directory of the distance learning courses offered by all of the public and private institutions within the state.
The Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University website is http://www.kyvu.org/


IV. Update of Governmental Activities

Federal Trade Commission Addresses Privacy Concerns
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is encouraging self-regulatory approaches to privacy protection through the use of a “fair information practice” policy. This policy includes:

  1. encouraging websites to notify users of their data collection practices;
  2. giving users the option to refuse the collection of their personal information;
  3. allowing users to view any of their personal data that have been collected; and
  4. providing assurances to users about the security of personal data.

A number of industry coalitions designed to encourage self-regulation using the FTC guidelines have emerged, including the OnLine Privacy Alliance, TrustE, and BBB OnLine.
The Federal Trade Commission Website is http://www.ftc.gov/reports/privacy3


The Emerging Role of ICANN
The federal government’s role in overseeing the technical and managerial functions of the Internet, including the assignment of domain names and numbers, has been moved to a new international nonprofit body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN will take over many of the activities formerly conducted by the federal government through the partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) at the University of Southern California. Prior to ICANN, Network Solutions, Inc., a Virginia-based company, had a monopoly on the registration of domains through a contract with the NSF. ICANN will now assume responsibility for Internet address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions. The oversight of domain names and addresses will be done through the ICANN accreditation of Internet registrars. ICANN will also review applications for domains and publish a list of ICANN accredited registrars.

ICANN will assume policy and dispute resolution responsibilities in addition to its self-regulatory responsibilities. For instance, in November 1999, ICANN approved a new international process for resolving trademark disputes by endorsing a voluntary arbitration process. The process was recommended by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of sixteen specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations involved in international copyright law.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers website is http://www.icann.org and the World Intellectual Property Organization website is http://www.wipo.org.


Copyright Office Issues Guidelines for Distance Education
Fulfilling its charge under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), enacted in October 1998, the United States Copyright Office delivered its report to Congress in June 1999 examining how recent changes in legislation will affect materials used in distance education. The DMCA serves to prevent the piracy of copyrighted materials available on the Internet by requiring Online Service Providers (OSPs) to monitor the content posted on websites that they host. However, certain exemptions to the law have been made to extend the “fair use” doctrine (which allows for limited use of copyrighted materials in the classroom) into distance education. The Copyright Office’s final report put forth a number of recommendations to aid both educators and government officials in defining the exemptions allowed under the new law as they apply to institutions.
The Copyright Office guidelines website is http://www.loc.gov/copyright/disted/


U.S. Department of Education

Distance Education Demonstration Program Participants Announced
Since the last edition of the CHEA Distance Learning in Higher Education in June 1999, the United States Secretary of Education announced the fifteen institutions, systems, and consortia that have been selected to participate in the Distance Education Demonstration Program. The program was created to examine the quality and viability of expanded distance education programs that currently are prohibited from receiving Title IV student aid. The participation agreements between the USDE and the demonstration program projects identify the specific elements of current law and regulation that USDE has agreed to waive to test the consequences on Title IV student aid programs. The initial participating institutions and consortia are:

  • LDS Church Education System;
  • Capella University (formerly The Graduate School of America);
  • Colorado Community Colleges and Occupational Education System;
  • Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium;
  • Florida State University;
  • Franklin University;
  • Masters Institute;
  • New York University;
  • North Dakota University System;
  • QUEST Education Corporation;
  • Southern Christian University;
  • Southwest Consortium for the Advancement of Technology in Education;
  • University of Maryland University College; and
  • Washington State University and Washington Community Technical College Online Consortium.
  • Western Governors University is also a participant.

The law requires applicants other than Western Governors University to be institutions of higher education that are eligible to participate in federal aid programs; they must be licensed by the state, be accredited, and meet federal financial and administrative standards. Participants are also required to consult with a recognized accrediting organization about appropriate quality assurance for the distance education programs.

The demonstration program has been authorized for five years. Thirty-five additional projects will be added in the third year.
The Distance Education Demonstration Program website is http://www2.ed.gov/programs/disted/index.html.

Learning Anytime Anywhere Grant Recipients Announced
In August 1999, the vice president of the United States announced the first recipients of Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership (LAAP) grants. This federal program provides grants to eligible partnerships to develop model distance learning programs and software; methods of program delivery that are student-paced as opposed to traditional semester calendars; and innovative online student support services often available on campuses such as job placement, academic counseling, and library services. The aim of LAAP is to provide access to postsecondary education to students whose daily lives do not allow for traditional models of learning, in particular working adults struggling to balance work, family, and school.

Some examples of the funded projects:

  • The North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges will join with tribal colleges in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Colorado to enhance the breadth of courses available to their students. The courses will be delivered asynchronously using the Internet and CD-ROMs, which will eventually enable the delivery of baccalaureate degree programs, to reservations that do not have a tribal college.

  • The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) will establish a Distance Learning Policy Laboratory. The laboratory will identify, review, discuss, and recommend distance education policy in the SREB states, as well as oversee the implementation of those policies. A major component of the project will be research on current distance education practices in the region. According to SREB, the goal of the research is to modify these practices to form a common “free-trade zone” policy for the delivery of classes by institutions in the member states. This will allow students to enroll in courses offered by all institutions in SREB states at the in-state tuition rate, as well as combining those classes to receive a degree.

  • East Carolina University will develop a high-speed wireless intranet system in conjunction with Ericsson Wireless Internet Solutions. The system will be targeted toward mobile professionals and “geographically displaced learners” who do not have access to an Internet connection. It is expected that within three years the partnership will be able to deliver a “two + two” industrial technology degree entirely over the intranet.

The Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnership website is http://www.ed.gov/programs/fipselaap/funding.html

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