NPAC Focused Effort Proposal for PET

Distance Education for Curricula Enhancement at HBCUs


Distance education is likely to be revolutionized by the growing power of high speed networks and Web Software for delivery, preparation and teacher-student/student-student collaboration components of education and training. This impact will be important at all levels of education K-12, undergraduate, graduate, continuing education and institutional training as in the DoD. Currently there is very little experience as to what features of both hardware and software are important and it is probable that there is no one answer but different applications will have different requirements and varying success.

NPAC has in TANGO and WebWisdom leading edge collaboration and dissemination technologies. Further the Virtual Programming Laboratory is a good prototype Web lab environment. Further we have substantial experience with computer Science graduate and undergraduate classes, Physics 105/106 undergraduate class, Living SchoolBook at K-12 level and Cornell virtual workshop collaboration for training in the use of the Web for education and training in many areas.

Project Description and Value to PET

The application of NPAC technology can impact both asynchronous (self study by student) and synchronous (teacher delivery) modes. Further it can be used both in MSRC training and education as well as in programs with the partnering HBCU's. The MSRC applications could be a model for much broader scale DoD training and so lessons learnt could be of profound importance. Again the HBCU applications are a model for how knowledge(from "leading edge research" Universities) in rapidly changing fields can be transferred to the curricula of educational institutions which are not so strongly coupled to research in these fields and so find it hard to keep their curricula up to date. Thus impact includes education in community colleges and similar institutions and will have broad national importance and not just confined to a few or all HBCU's.

This proposal covers the initial phases of what is anticipated to be a long-term Focused Effort in Distance Education. The goal at this stage is to setup the necessary infrastructure to provide distance education at CEWES and the HBCUs and to conduct several trials designed to help evaluate different strategic approaches and technical details of the implementations. It is worth noting that taken individually, not all of these trials will be considered "successes" by those involved. The real measure of success must be developing from these trials an effective set of strategies and implementations for distance education which can be applied as this Focused Effort continues.

Here the goal is not just to educate a few students better but to leave a lasting impact on the institution in terms of a better curricula and more knowledgeable faculty equipped with better Web based tools. This implies project must have committed involvement of HBCU faculty. We also rely on the established relationship of CEWES & PET management with the HBCUs. Consequently, we offer not a list of detailed deliverables, but an overall plan, with consultation among all of the partners to fix the details as the project proceeds.

In light of the fluidity required by this project, the staffing and budget estimates are no more than rough estimates. As presented, these figures suppose strong involvement with both Jackson State University and Clark Atlanta University. They also rely on the reuse of course materials already developed by NPAC for these initial experiments--new courses can certainly be developed, but this will require adjustments to schedules and budgets. These assumptions are certainly subject to discussion and revision as the details of the plan are fixed.


NPAC will take primary responsibility for these items, but specific deliverables must be designed and agreed by all partners.

Additional Requirements

These items are considered critical to the success of this project, but while NPAC hopes to play a significant role in the decision-making process, they would seem ultimately to be the primary responsibility of our partners.