An Integrated Distance Education Teacher Training Model for Special Education Teachers in Rural Settings
A 3-year project to provide rural Alaska teachers with access to the University of Alaska-Anchorage's Special Education Program used distance education in learning applications as well as in developing a knowledge base. Previous Alaskan distance education programs had been criticized as "second class" compared to traditional on-campus programs. To assure quality control equivalent to the campus program, the project emphasized human contact and uniform evaluation criteria. Telecommunications systems--videocassette, audiocassette, teleconferencing--as well as site visits by faculty, student presentations, and weekly student meetings facilitated human interaction. Student assignments were graded by the same criteria as on-campus student work. Seven of 10 courses required for certification in special education were offered and students also attended on-campus summer school. Approximately 12 students enrolled at each of 3 remote sites. Seven students completed the certification program, 12 subsequently completed the program on campus, and 12 applied their credits to other programs. The distance education program required more faculty time and effort than the on-campus program, students needed more individual and group support, and technological problems and lack of student skills in using the technology had unexpected potential to disrupt training. (LFL)
Johnson, M.K. & Amundsen, C. An Integrated Distance Education Teacher Training Model for Special Education Teachers in Rural Settings.