U.S. GRANT ENABLES MARSHALLS DISTANCE LEARNING

News Release

College of the Marshall Islands Majuro, Marshall Islands Jan. 28, 2011

"We’re bringing College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) courses directly to the outer islands, making it more affordable and accessible," said CMI President Kenneth Woodbury, commenting on the Distance Learning Centers which will be set up on Ebeye, as well as on the Arrak campus on Majuro.

College of the Marshall Island’s proposal for the centers has recently received a boost with a grant of US$147,904 from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The grant will entirely fund a total of 3 fully equipped distance learning labs which will be stationed on CMI’s Uliga campus, the Arrak campus, and on Ebeye. The labs will come equipped with 60 inch monitors which are called Interactive Television (ITV). ITV will allow students to interact with their CMI instructors on screen in real time, "as if they’re in the same classroom," says Woodbury.

College of the Marshall Islands was one of 205 applicants competing for the grant under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the Rural Utilities Service from the United States Department of Agriculture. Besides the TV monitors, the grant will also fund laptops, computers, and furniture for each lab.

"These are the most modern, up-to-date, state of the art, distance learning equipment," says Woodbury.

The distance learning center on Ebeye will be using two classrooms at the Queen of Peace Elementary School. Back in November 2010, Woodbury signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Queen of Peace Elementary School leaders who agreed to lend the two classrooms to be used as a computer lab and TV lab.

Besides the Interactive Television, the classes will be a combination of face to face teaching with a faculty member stationed at each center. The courses will be college credit courses, and as such students who sign up for the courses will also be eligible to apply for the PELL grant.

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