NEWPORT, Ark. (6-11-2015) — Arkansas State University-Newport hosted a Media Day June 10 to showcase the capabilities of the college to conduct distance learning at rural locations, made possible by ASUN’s installation of equipment provided through a USDA Rural Utility Services Distance Learning & Telemedicine grant. Through the RUS-DLT grant, Arkansas State University-Newport is now able to provide college access to more rural citizens in order to increase the number of Arkansans with degrees and certificates.
In 2014, ASU-Newport completed the connection of its campus locations in Newport, Jonesboro and Marked Tree to three Arkansas school districts in an interactive partnership that will allow for citizens of these rural areas to take college courses in their communities. The approximately $460,000 grant has allowed the two-year college to connect with the Harrisburg School District, the McCrory School District and the East Poinsett County School District.
During the Media Day, ASU-Newport demonstrated the capabilities of the technology when Allen Mooneyhan, ASUN Dean for Distance Learning, conducted a live videoconference with officials at East Poinsett County and Harrisburg Schools. East Poinsett County was represented by John Kelly, principal at EPC’s Lepanto campus, while Harrisburg was represented by Daniel Howton from the school’s IT department.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION CONCERNING THE RUS-DLT GRANT
Video network infrastructure resides at the hub site on ASUN’s Newport campus, while servers will allow outlying sites to record and make available on-demand a wide variety of course content. All three of ASUN’s campus locations are now equipped with custom integrated distance learning classrooms. These classrooms enable ASUN instructors to share content, instruction and professional development, giving the outlying sites the same “virtual” experience they would have if they were live in the classroom. A variety of peripheral devices will keep the students engaged and interested, rather than the instructor becoming a “talking head” on a video screen.