BELLEVUE, Wash. — Washington State University will sponsor a conference here May
17-18 exploring partnerships between public education and private business to develop and
deliver distance education programs to schools, workplaces and homes.
“The Practice of Distance Education: Models of Effective Collaboration” will be held at
Bellevue’s DoubleTree Hotel, S.E. 300 112th Ave.
Distance education programs have experienced rapid growth in recent years and
collaboration between higher education and private business is accelerating. Several Wall
Street-backed companies, including the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, are
pouring millions of dollars into distance education. They are trying to capture a greater share of
the education market for both traditional students and adult learners.
Two factors are driving the rapid expansion of distance education, says Muriel K. Oaks,
associate vice president for WSU’s Extended University Services. “There are new audiences for
higher education now, while more younger students are entering and older students are
returning to school,” she says.
“Many place-bound students already are settled in communities where they have families
and jobs. So moving to a university is difficult,” Oaks adds. “The technologies now available
allow us to do things we couldn’t do before. Fortunately in Washington State, we have a good
technology infrastructure. Our K-20 system has two-way video interactive capabilities that allow
all educational institutions to share resources and programs with each other and with students at
a distance.”
Oaks foresees additional changes in higher education as a result of new breakthroughs in
distance education.
“First, there will be more sharing of educational opportunities among institutions at all
levels. Second, distance education will allow for a broader array of courses and programs, so that
institutions won’t have to duplicate. Students will be able to go to the next level without leaving
their communities,” she says. “Third, students will be able to access video and audio resources
on the Internet. Those are fairly new capabilities that will enhance the way students can learn.”
Keynote speakers at the conference include Carole Barone, vice president of Educause;
Dewayne Matthews, senior program director for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher
Education; and Thomas L. “Les” Purce, WSU vice president for Extended University Affairs.
Companies presenting their online, satellite and video-conferencing programs for
professional training and continuing education include Caliber Learning, Pearson Distributed
Learning, OnlineLearning.net, 3Com Corporation and Harcourt Brace.
For details, contact WSU Conferences & Institutes by phone, 800/942-4978 or 509/335-3530
or by fax, 509/335-0945. Additional program information is on the Conferences & Institutes web
site at .
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