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Susan Scott, director of the Indiana College Network (ICN), a service of IHETS that provides a gateway to e-learning opportunities from the state's colleges and universities, says that such opportunities will help Indiana compete economically by increasing the number of adults with bachelor's or associate's degrees.
Dave King, executive director of IHETS, says that the Community College of Indiana is an important part of building a more educated workforce, but adds that distance learning is another.
IHETS took note of a study published last summer by the Education Commission of the States, "Closing the College Participation Gap," which concluded that Indiana needs to increase adult participation in college by 94 percent by 2015 just to catch up to where the best states are today--and those states will have continued to move forward, IHETS officials view distance learning as a valuable tool for the state in closing this gap.
For more than 35 years, IHETS has played a major role in advancing the state's high-technology agenda.
In the mid-1990s, IHETS, working with the Indiana Intelenet Commission, joined a partnership to create ITN, which includes the state library, the Department of Education mad the state government-based Division of Information Technology.
Intelenet administers the partnership and IHETS manages and operates the network.
With the exception of those technical instructors taking the class on campus, lack of eye-to-eye contact is an issue for IHETS, videotape and Internet students.
Technical instructors on IHETS can communicate with ITE faculty through satellite transmission, which allows for audio communications, while those taking courses via videotape send written reactions via mail, fax, or e-mail on a weekly basis.
"The overall cost will be less, and we can pay off the capitalization within three years," says Jim Potter, director of Systems Development and Operations at IHETS. By using a satellite to distribute programs, he figures he can reach 100 more sites than were feasible with his ground-based network.
In the meantime, de facto ones are being established by such pioneers as NTU, IHETS, KET and CLI.
Ball State University, for example, provides MBA courses at 49 sites via the Indiana Higher Educational Telecommunication System (IHETS).
Both VIS and distance teaching are video-based." Most faculty start with VIS and, as their confidence grows in using TV and video-related material in class, then decide to offer their course to location-bound students via the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System (IHETS), a statewide, distance-learning network.
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