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Extending Educational Opportunities in Rural Areas: Application of Distance Education in Rural Schools

Author(s): Wallace Hannum (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA), Matthew Irvin (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA) and Claire de la Varre (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 19
EISBN13: 9781609602338


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Rural schools in many countries face problems in providing educational opportunities to children and youth for a variety of reasons. There has been the tendency in many countries to migrate to urban areas, often in search of better economic opportunities. The resulting shift from rural areas to urban/suburban areas has placed increased pressures on schools in rural communities. Schools often form the hub of social and civic activity in rural communities. Although they are an important component to rural communities, many rural schools are struggling under the weight of declining populations, declining budgets, staffing difficulties, and increased pressures to better prepare students for the workforce or further education. Rural schools face particular difficulties in attracting and retaining qualified teachers. Faced with problems of providing a comprehensive curriculum and qualified teachers, many rural schools in the United States have turned to distance education. This case explores the use of distance education in the United States through a national survey of distance education use, analysis of barriers to distance education and an experimental study of enhancing distance education through more appropriate training of local facilitators to support students.

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