With the rise in technology worldwide, there has been an increase in distance education. Despite the fact that, “employers prefer applicant with traditional degrees from average universities over those with an online degree from a top university” (Davies). The rise will only increase with digital technologies, however, it’s unfortunate that some countries around the globe such as Rwanda and Ghana only see about 3% use of cellular service or Internet use in their local population (Moore & Kearsley).
The first open university and still a leader in distance education is the UK Open University. Since its opening in 1971, they’ve educated over two million people, at a mere cost of $7,500 in 2010. The only requirement is to be of 18 years old, with exceptions.
In Brazil, 20% of higher ed. schools are funded through the government and has a model that is an excellent example of a systems approach. The university does not have a centralized program, but is a system created that offers a two year degree for a cost of $1200 (about the cost of this one course at the UA system). The logistics in Brazil are similar to those in Alaska with parts of the country having high access to technology, but also extremely remote areas with very limited access to technology and the Internet.
The nationwide project that allowed 30,000 teachers to teach in rural areas really interests me. In Alaska “only 5% of teachers in Alaska schools are Alaska Native” (PITAAS Program). In 2008 the PITAAS program graduated 12 Alaska Native teachers, which was a record number. Creating a system to train local teachers would increase the number of Alaska Native teachers working and living in their villages, benefitting rural schools and decreasing turnover.
Our system and challenges we face are also similar to those in Australia. One study in Australia found that, “ There is a significant body of literature and evidence to suggest that non-Indigenous teachers in Australia simply do not know enough about how to teach Indigenous children (Santoro, et al., 2011). If we look into their solutions, I believe it would really benefit schools here in rural Alaska.
Davies, S. (9/19/16). Is Online Learning the Future of Further Education? Tech.co.Retrieved from: http://tech.co/online-learning-future-education-2016-09
Moore, Michael G.; Kearsley, Greg (2011-04-22). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning (What’s New in Education) Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.
PITAAS Program (2013). University of Alaska Southeast. Retrieved from: http://www.uas.alaska.edu/soundings/archive-files/2008/09/pitaas.html
Santoro, N., Reid, J., Crawford, L., & Simpson L. (2011). Teaching Indigenous Children: Listening To And Learning From Indigenous Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. Retrieved from: http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1556&context=ajte