Haskell Joins Students Across Kansas Prairie

May 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 15-4: Ancient Cultures Modern Technology, Tribal College News

Haskell Indian Nations University has launched a distance education program. Using modern technology, about 60 students on the Haskell campus in Lawrence, KS, and on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation in northeastern Kansas now are taking classes together even though they are located 70 miles apart.

Haskell believes in a hybrid approach to distance education. The university combines a web-based computerized classroom system (Blackboard) with face-to-face interactivity via the Internet (Tandberg).

“It is our conviction that students want real-time interactions, like in a regular classroom or student-teacher conference. We have sought to do everything possible to make what happens in this classroom just like any other classroom at Haskell,” says Dr. Smokey McKinney, Haskell’s director of distance education.

The students are taking four classes (American Indian Experience in the 20th Century, Chemical Dependency Among Native Americans, Computer Operations, and Introduction to Algebra).

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation funded the two video teleconferencing (VTC) classrooms, one on the Haskell campus and one on the Potawatomi Reservation. The VTC technology combines the locales into one, using full, two-way, high-quality video and audio feeds traveling over the Internet. Students use wireless laptops for accessing the Blackboard electronic classroom system

Haskell’s five-year strategic plan, published last year, sets a goal of 1,000 distance education students at Haskell by 2008. To attend Haskell, students must be enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe. Within five years, Indian students will be able to gain Haskell degrees while remaining at home and maintaining important family, professional, cultural and community ties.

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