USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul visited Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte Friday to present the college with a plaque to commemorate an award of $118,700 to further distance learning capabilities.
“It is essential to expand distance learning capabilities in the state so we can make education more easily accessible to our rural students,” said Moul. “It is with great pleasure that Rural Development is able to assist Mid-Plains Community College in its distance learning efforts.”
“Over the past eight years, the West Central Region of Nebraska has been in the process of converting to an entirely digital network. The upgrades will allow the college to address the rapidly changing technology needs of students, faculty and staff, while continuing to serve rural Nebraskans,” said Mike Steele, MPCC Area Vice-President of Administrative Services. “We are especially grateful to the USDA for their help in financing this project.”
Mid-Plains Community College will utilize the distance learning funds to upgrade and expand the College's distance learning system.
Technology specialists at the college have been converting existing distance learning classrooms from analog to digital technology, thanks in part to the $118,000 funding partnership with the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.
Outdated analog technology in distance learning classrooms at the college has become an increasing concern in recent years. The college’s Distance Learning Technology Conversion Program will utilize an all-digital system, using digital cabling, switches, and other infrastructure to update existing distance learning classrooms.
The USDA grant also funded the installation of a content recording management system and other hub equipment at the North Platte campus. This upgrade and expansion will enlarge Mid-Plains' capacity to deliver higher enhanced distance learning not only to its extended campuses but will also attract high school students in the rural areas to move along higher educational paths and opportunities with dual high school/college credits.
Additionally, the new equipment will further Mid-Plains' initiatives for teacher professional development, life-long learning for all residents, and collaboration with existing and prospective local businesses.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.