Saturday, January 1, 2000

The Going the Distance Tele-Learning Consortium

A strategic partnership of Georgia Public Broadcasting, institutions of the University System of Georgia, and Georgia G.L.O.B.E.(Georgia Learning Online for Business and Education)

A 1998 study commissioned by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) and a 1999 study commissioned by Georgia G.L.O.B.E., confirm the need and the opportunity to deploy technology on behalf of learning for Georgians. A survey of 500 registered voters statewide revealed:

* 50 percent of all respondents (including 30 percent of Georgians over age 60) were interested in attending a college or university during the next three years either to earn a degree or to take non-credit courses;
* 62 percent expressed interest in pursuing a degree in computer science or information technology during the next three years;
* 66 percent of respondents indicated that they had access to the Internet from home, work or both, and 55 percent expressed a willingness to take college credit or professional development courses via the Internet if offered by one of Georgia's 34 public colleges and universities; and
* 52 percent would take a video-based college credit or professional development course if offered over GPB's educational network.

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) and the University System of Georgia are planning together to improve access to postsecondary learning for Georgians statewide by using existing and emerging technologies, including open air broadcast, cable and satellite television and video delivered over the Internet. One effort under discussion is the Going the Distance Tele-Learning Consortium. Individual institutions in the University System will coordinate telecourse offerings based, in part, on content provided by the Public Broadcasting Service's (PBS) Going the Distance and Ready To Earn initiatives and broadcast over GPB's expanded broadcast network. Initial course offerings scheduled for summer 2000 will satisfy most of the freshman and sophomore requirements of the University System.

The consortium will provide all support services needed to assist students enrolled in telecourses. In addition, four-year institutions will work with two-year campuses to ensure that students have access to services nearest the students' homes or places of work.

Georgia G.L.O.B.E., an initiative of the University System, and GPB will collaborate in providing marketing throughout the state to increase awareness of the expanded availability of postsecondary learning from the University System institutions. The two organizations will work together to secure a statewide broadcast license from PBS, thereby avoiding the costs of individual institutional licenses. GPB will provide production and broadcast services for the consortium.

The consortium builds on and compliments the Board of Regents June 1999 directive launching Georgia G.L.O.B.E. to use technology-based learning to:

* expand access to quality postsecondary education and thereby increase the numbers of Georgians earning degrees in occupational fields of strategic importance to the state's economic development;
* pool and leverage Georgia's educational and technological assets; and
* avoid unnecessary duplication of effort among University System institutions and among state agencies.

PeachStar Education Services looks forward to its very active involvement in the work of this new and exciting consortium.