Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will speak during a forum and press conference at The University of Texas at Austin Monday, Sept. 21, on the importance of broadband Internet technology for distance learning to prepare high school students for higher education.
The event, held in conjunction with an FCC Broadband Field Hearing in Austin, will be at 1:30 p.m. in the university's Thompson Conference Center. The broadband hearing earlier in the day at the Texas University Club is the first stop on a nationwide tour by the FCC to promote broadband use in education.
Panel members for the discussion will include Dean Judy Ashcroft, Ph.D., of Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE) and Amy Pro, Ph.D., principal of The University of Texas at Austin Online High School. Three students who have benefited from broadband Internet use to further their high school studies through CIE also will be on the panel. One of the students will join the conference via a broadband Internet video connection.
"I look forward to a vivid showcase on the power of broadband communications and how it relates to distance learning," said Ashcroft. "By showcasing how broadband communication impacts both secondary and higher education, this discussion will emphasize the higher goals of Internet usage. We, in Continuing and Innovative Education, are excited by new uses of this technology so we may support learners everywhere in their education continuum."
Continuing and Innovative Education offers a number of distance learning programs and opportunities that specifically employ the Internet to reach students from across the state, country, and world. The distance learning components and services include:
- University Extension
Distance learners can take college credit courses anytime, anywhere from The University of Texas at Austin through University Extension (UEX). The mission of UEX is to enable students' connection to university faculty, departments and programs. UEX continuously provides open-enrollment, online and evening courses taught by university instructors or university-approved instructors. Credit earned in UEX courses is provided on an official university transcript and is transferable to most colleges and degree plans.
- The University of Texas at Austin Online High School
Fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Online High School was authorized by the Texas State Board of Education in 1998 to provide distance learners with a high school curriculum and to award diplomas. The program offers more than 48 online courses in English, social studies, mathematics, science, foreign languages, health, computer applications, physical education, economics and electives.
- Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program
This program helps Texas migrant students graduate from high school by providing them with opportunities to earn school credit through distance learning courses, services, and computer equipment loans. The program offers all courses needed to graduate high school in Texas through distance learning courses. The mission of the program is to increase the high school graduation rate of migrant students by providing alternative, nontraditional methods for earning high school credits.
- LUCHA (Language Learners at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Hispanic Achievement)
LUCHA is designed to help Spanish-speaking students transition into English-language public schools. To meet this goal, CIE's K-16 Education Center works with education agencies in Mexico to create alignment between the curriculum that students receive in their home country and the curriculum taught in Texas. LUCHA gives students from Mexico the opportunity to use online course curricula from Mexico to complete the school semester or year.