Distance Education

The Distance Education Program within the National Research Center on Rural Education Support is investigating the use of distance education in rural schools and the feasibility of offering advanced and upper-level courses in science, mathematics, and foreign languages though distance education.

Distance education technology has changed a great deal over the last decades as communications technologies continue to evolve. These changes have resulted in a greater diversity in the type of delivery systems as well as possible differences in the effectiveness of types of delivery systems for differing courses.

Distance Education has a history of being used to help provide courses in rural communities.

Why This Matters

Distance education can play an important role in rural schools. Rural school districts face many problems and educational issues that are unique to rural schools. These issues can effect the way that rural districts can and do use distance education. The ability to attract highly qualified teachers and offer them competitive salaries can be reduced because of changing economics in the communities. Distance education is one way of offering courses to a small number of students while reducing the need for teachers certified in a particular subject.

National Survey of Distance Education

NRCRES has conducted a national survey of distance education in rural schools across the country in order to determine the current use of distance education, the variety of courses being offered though distance education and the different types of technologies currently used for distance education courses. This survey will also help to pinpoint the barriers encountered in distance education, the satisfaction with distance education, and the interrelationships among all of these factors.

The survey will provide a better overall picture of distance education in rural school districts than was previously available.

Distance Education for Professional Development

Distance education can play an important role in professional development. Many issues that rural schools face in being able to offer advanced courses to their students are the same issues they face when trying to find professional development courses for their staff.

Teachers may be unable to travel to the closest college to receive training on the latest teaching methods or certification in teaching advanced placement courses. Finding time to complete these courses in a traditional setting may also be harder for rural teachers. The ability to be able to take the courses via distance education can allow the teachers to take the courses at a more flexible time and at a more convenient location.

Distance Education Staff

Dr. Wallace Hannum- Principal Investigator

Jonathan Banks- Project Coordinator

Beth Jaeger- Project Manager

Matt Irvin- Investigator

Julie Keane- Staff

Claire De La Vaire- Staff