Educational outreach to expand

By Charles Ratliff

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Task Force for Distance Learning met with Provost Paul Sypherd and his staff Tuesday to discuss ways to expand the UA's educational outreach efforts.

"The task force is an advisory committee looking at opportunities to enhance the university's effort to expand distance learning," said William Valmont, task force committee member and professor of language, reading, and culture.

"The issue we addressed at the meeting was mainly philosophical," said Charlie Hurt, director of the school of library science and task force chairman. "We said, basically, that distance education needs to continue to be a part of the university as a seamless part of the teaching component."

Hurt said the university has been involved in distance learning for over 23 years.

"It's a way of offering courses using video technology or satellite technology," said Pat Lewis, program coordinator for distance learning at the University of Arizona Extended University.

"Our audience, primarily, is the non-traditional working student who can't make it to campus for classes," Lewis said.

Hurt said that the suggestion was made to Provost Sypherd and his staff that this task force continue to move in a direction conducive to the growth of distance learning at the university.

He said the first step in that direction is to form a group to talk about what to implement that would influence the growth of distance learning at the university.

Lewis said an experimental class, Anthropology 310, is taped during the first section and replayed for later sections, in order to meet the demand of growth the university is experiencing.

"We'd like to do more of that," she said.

"We told the provost that we wish to do distance education," Hurt said. He said examples of questions the committee raised were, "How do we do it and how do we identify the funding sources to get us to where we want to be?" He said those questions would be addressed by the committee in the implementation group.

"I think we were heard, received, and understood," Hurt said. "As far as I'm concerned it went very well."

"The provost indicated that this is an effort worth pursuing and that this committee will not die," Valmont said.

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