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USDA Creates Better Learning System with Conferencing

January 23, 2018

The Vermont State Colleges System has been awarded a $388,988 grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This grant will help strengthen the current remote learning system, as Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development announced. The USDA is awarding grants related to broadband projects aiming to further job training and educational/healthcare services in rural areas for 35 states.

“Distance Learning technology has the potential to close the geographic divide faced by rural America and bring resources to communities that are not readily available,” said Acting State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire Jon-Michael Muise. “I applaud the leadership at the Vermont State College System and Northern Vermont University for pursuing an innovative solution to extend educational resources to rural communities across the state and the country.”

With the grant, the Vermont State Colleges System is able to create a remote learning program, connecting with Northern Vermont University as well as 28 high schools within the state. Fixed and mobile video conferencing will be utilized to allow more course access, including dual-credit courses. Professors, educators, and public service people can enhance skills via tele-education.  

The USDA is giving 72 grants, estimated to be worth $23.6 million through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. The money will drive broadband, linking rural communities to higher education and telemedicine. Opioid abuse treatment and mental health counseling were the two areas of focus for 2017, needing top-priority attention.

Distance learning is being implemented at many colleges and universities to allow those who cannot attend actual classes the same education. The University of Florida has approximately 200 online programs including bachelors, Masters and PhD programs.

Why should a student’s location dictate the level of education they have access to? Distance learning is the wave of the future so get your books, laptop, and put your thinking cap on.

Edited by Maurice Nagle