Practical Tools for Rural Education: Integrating Technology into the Teaching-Learning Process

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Teaching with technology is an obvious solution to meeting the higher education needs of rural students. The purpose for this paper is to provide explanations, guidelines and lessons learned regarding purchase and use of current available technologies that are capable of providing quality teaching-learning experiences. This paper also addresses barriers, challenges and solutions for educators who are considering online teaching-learning productions. Background and current data included are possible because of a funded project that provided the opportunity to purchase, process and evaluate virtual technology and its integration of some features into the status quo university-supported asynchronous technology system. The motivation to seek funding was rooted in improving our distance education offerings for rural nursing students. This paper begins by identifying student and faculty needs, followed by evaluation of delivery systems and software programs. Delivery systems include video and web conferencing that have synchronous and/or asynchronous capabilities. Choosing and integrating quality software and hardware to enhance online teaching and learning experiences are the next decisions toward creation of a satisfying learning experience. Outcome objectives for both faculty and students focused on efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction.


Also published as Chapter 14 in Bell, E., Zimitat, C., & Merrick, J. (2010). Rural medical education: Practical strategies. Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science.

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