HINU Teams with Tribe to Offer Distance Ed

May 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 14-4: Cultural Resilience, Tribal College News
By Danielle Kawkeka
SMOKEY MCKINNEY

Smokey McKinney said the distance ed classrooms will help increase enrollment without increasing overcrowding.

Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS, hopes to beef up enrollment with a new program that provides students on reservations and in cities with training and equipment to take classes at home and on-line instead of on campus. This distance education program, called IDE@, is funded in part by the nearby Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Haskell’s new Institute of Distance Education also houses Tribal Student Technology and Extension programs.

Smokey McKinney, director of IDE@ and acting vice president of academic affairs, said, “We are in the experimental stage. The program has only been in place for about a year.” McKinney, who created the IDE@ logo, said the funds from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation will create two computer classrooms each costing about $50,000, which are furnished with computers, cameras, monitors, microphones, and lecterns.

McKinney notes that “the classrooms at Haskell and local communities like the Prairie Band Potawatomi, about 35 miles northwest of the campus, can increase enrollment without adding to campus overcrowding, as well as accommodating students who are wary of leaving home and their way of life, allowing them to stay connected to their culture and receive a quality education.”

The Tribal Student Technology program, run by trained students, provides technical support for labs around campus. “Mentoring and training is an integral part of the process,” McKinney said of the student technology component. He said it is modeled on a similar program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Becky Welton, IDE@ extension program associate, added that one of the program’s goals is “to provide Native youth with opportunities and positive activities. Six to 12 work-study positions will be available, and every student regardless of major will be considered for employment.

Danielle Kawkeka (Kickapoo) attends Haskell Indian Nations University. She is a 2001 graduate of The Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. Article and photo courtesy of Reznet, <www.reznetnews.org>.

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