IHETSIndiana Higher Education Telecommunication System
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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.
"We provide advanced network services to our clients, and those services must include the best security capabilities we can offer," says Dave King, IHETS executive director.
"This sort of diversity means that we have to be all things to all people, yet we have to accomplish that goal with typically limited resources." In addition, King notes, both IHETS and its ITN clients must address a growing list of technology objectives on a tight budget.
IHETS was already using Cisco touters and switches to link all 1,900-plus end points on 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.
In the meantime, de facto ones are being established by such pioneers as NTU, IHETS, KET and CLI.
"My experience tells me you can't wait forever," says Potter at IHETS. "You have to climb onto the technology where it is now, or you'll never do anything."