About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5149-5153
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

DISTANCE DELIVERY IN RURAL ALASKA

J. Eastman, K. Church-Chmielowski, R.C. Radigan, G. Kildal, S. McCarthy

Prince William Sound Community College (UNITED STATES)
This program involves the use of technology used by Prince William Sound Community College (PWSCC), Copper Basin Campus, to extend our college and Adult Basic Education (ABE) outreach to students and communities in the Copper River Country in interior Alaska. We serve seven Athabascan Native villages and 23 communities in an area encompassing 23,000 square miles. We also serve high school students in local school districts by offering dual credit courses. The village and community populations in the region range from 51 to 473 residents, with the majority of the population living a subsistence lifestyle.

The majority of the technology we use includes using Polycom video over Internet Protocol (IP) units. We utilize four units here on our outreach campus and have five more at secondary outreach campuses located throughout the region. These are administered by our campus and placed in Native village halls, a public library, a school and a Native village health clinic. We also connect with two other PWSCC campuses and University of Alaska campuses statewide. It is a struggle in rural Alaska to maintain reliability of modern communications. We provide technology support from our campus, which is another challenge. When we cannot troubleshoot over the phone or other communication means, we travel to remote sites as required.

The Polycom units provide real-time communications between sites, instructors and individuals, along with various content sources. Instructors frequently use a visualizer to broadcast printed media and detailed analysis of exhibits. A SMART Board and SMART Board Sympodium are used to provide more interactive teaching methods. Examples include visualization of theories and abstract thought, writing and solving math problems, and viewing online content and PowerPoint presentations.

Instructors and students both receive training in these technologies. Methodologies for success include instructor knowledge and the ability to communicate in an effective manner with students who have limited technology experience, and often have limited education experiences. Students must frequently perform basic troubleshooting of these technologies.

Our students’ success depends upon partnerships that PWSCC has formed statewide. Besides PWSCC and ABE courses, we host events and trainings for outside organizations. Our facilities are utilized by community health organizations, emergency groups and community development offices, to name a few. Some examples of workshops include workplace training, business marketing, public lectures and community events.

Culture, climate and socioeconomics in the region result in residents being place-bound, unable or unwilling to move to further their education. For many, education is not important because their culture has different priorities. We live in an Arctic climate, where traveling 100+ miles each way to class can be dangerous. Low socioeconomic status of current and potential student populations does not afford them the educational opportunities commonly available in the United States.

If not for the technologies PWSCC is utilizing, most of our students would have limited access to higher educational opportunities. These continuous efforts results in part-time and full-time students and graduates benefitting from our distance programs. We foster lifelong learning and skills, to the benefit of all of our residents and communities.
@InProceedings{EASTMAN2011DIS,
author = {Eastman, J. and Church-Chmielowski, K. and Radigan, R.C. and Kildal, G. and McCarthy, S.},
title = {DISTANCE DELIVERY IN RURAL ALASKA},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {5149-5153}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Eastman AU - K. Church-Chmielowski AU - R.C. Radigan AU - G. Kildal AU - S. McCarthy
TI - DISTANCE DELIVERY IN RURAL ALASKA
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 5149
EP - 5153
ER -
J. Eastman, K. Church-Chmielowski, R.C. Radigan, G. Kildal, S. McCarthy (2011) DISTANCE DELIVERY IN RURAL ALASKA, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 5149-5153.
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