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Supporting Online Education Students in a Rural Environment (Interactive Training Module)

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Distance education is defined as a formal learning activity which occurs when students and instructors are separated by geographic distance or by time, often supported by communications technology such as television, videotape, computers, email, mail, or interactive videoconferencing . Distance education has come to the forefront of our society as a way to provide access to education for students regardless of geographical proximity to an educational institution. The evolution of online courses has significantly changed the opportunities available to students living in rural areas, as well as the expectations that students have of rural community colleges to provide quality education that they might not otherwise have access to. According to Arthur M. Cohen, a clear definition of “rural” does not exist for community colleges. For the purpose of this monograph, a rural college is defined as a public community college located 30 minutes away from a major metropolitan area.

The distinguishing characteristics of a rural community college as opposed to an urban college are: their geographically dispersed service areas, accessibility to resources, and often, access to a pool of qualified personnel. An area that is problematic for rural colleges is the ability to support rural students in the distance environment. Student support is a support system in place at an institution to help ensure student success both academically and socially such as access to advising, counseling, financial aid, admissions, student activities, library services, and student technical support.
(This is a Free Resource)

Provider:
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (by: Jimidene Murphey, Professor and Program Coordinator of English, Clarendon College )