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Higher education enhanced through distance grant

February 08,2011 by: admin

A significant grant was received by the Jackson State Community College for expanding its distance education program in many of the rural areas of West Tennessee. High school and college students as well as non-traditional students will be able to make use of the college courses in local communities thanks to the grant. The program represents how technology and a good investment in the work force of West Tennessee have been used smartly. The competitive grant amounting to 489,000 dollars from the US Department of Agriculture will help Jackson State to expand the distance education program in many counties by next fall. As per plans, the grant will be utilized to buy equipment that will be placed in 7 high schools across the region. This will be in addition to the facilities being used already in Paris, Greenfield, McKenzie, Brownsville and Dresden.

The course offerings by Jackson State have been multiplying thanks to the distance education programs in rural areas without the need to invest in buildings. Existing infrastructure like community centres is being used by the school to house the equipment needed for distance education. This will enable students from rural areas to pursue education without having to drive to Jackson. This ensures optimised use of facilities, a good example being the use of high schools which would otherwise stay vacant in the evening hours.

Another advantage is that this will also enable the students of the rural high schools to take up advanced placement courses through programs like dual enrolment where they can get credits for school and college at the same time. The advancement in technology has allowed instructors in Jackson to communicate with students from all over West Tennessee. The interaction includes questions being asked and answered and discussion on coursework amongst students as well as with the instructor. Not only does this save a lot of time for everyone, but valuable money is also saved. People, who would otherwise miss out on college courses and the chances to pursue higher education, can use this opportunity to get degrees and attain their goals. The instructors’ time is better utilised too as they can avoid travelling to the distance learning centres and instead deliver classes from one place. With a major part of new jobs requiring people to at least have technical certification of post secondary education, Jackson State is on a mission to do whatever is needful and that too, efficiently.

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