Prison educators travel N.C.'s information highway.
In the wake of new communication technology, North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. prison educators are reaching more inmate INMATE. One who dwells in a part of another's house, the latter dwelling, at the same time, in the said house. Kitch. 45, b; Com. Dig. Justices of the Peace, B 85; 1 B. & Cr. 578; 8 E. C. L. R. 153; 2 Dowl. & Ry. 743; 8 B. & Cr. 71; 15 E. C. L. R. 154; 2 Man. & Ry. 227; 9 B. & Cr. students than ever before. Now, offenders throughout the state can actively participate in classes live via the North Carolina information highway.
The information highway is a result of a public-private partnership Public-private partnership (PPP) describes a government service or private business venture which is funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. These schemes are sometimes referred to as PPP or P3. that has enabled the state to build a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a of telecommunications links and nodes arranged so that messages may be passed from one part of the network to another over multiple links and through various nodes. operated by telephone companies, with the state as the customer. The highway was announced in 1993 by Gov. Jim Hunt
James Baxter Hunt Jr. (born May 16, 1937 in Wilson, NC) was a four-term Democratic governor of the U.S. . Public schools, community colleges, prisons and government agencies have first priority in accessing this tool. The goal of this new network is to serve all voice, data and video needs of state and local government, such as video courses, distance learning, telecommunications via computers, electronic mail and information management. More than 125 information highway sites are currently operational.
Many of the sites are located in hospitals, schools, universities and community colleges. Through the use of the highway, advanced classes can be taught by videoconference vid·e·o·con·fer·ence
A teleconference using video technology, such as closed-circuit television.
vid to remote, rural school systems from the North Carolina School of Science and Math located in Durham, N.C. Training for teachers and nurses is provided through videoconferences, saving travel time and costs. The network has a multitude of uses in allowing North Carolinians North Car·o·li·na
Abbr. NC or N.C.
A state of the southeast United States bordering on the Atlantic Ocean. It was admitted as one of the original Thirteen Colonies in 1789. First settled c. to "connect" through technology by visiting a local community college or school rather than actually traveling on the road, and has been used for "town meetings" and to provide medical help to rural counties.
Video sessions are perhaps the most exciting aspect of the information highway. Each month, more than 1,000 video sessions are held between and among sites throughout the state. Through the use of videoconferencing A real time video session between two or more users or between two or more locations. Although the first videoconferencing was done with traditional analog TV and satellites, inhouse room systems became popular in the early 1980s after Compression Labs pioneered digitized video systems , three North Carolina prisons - Hyde Correctional Institution Noun 1. correctional institution - a penal institution maintained by the government
detention camp, detention home, detention house, house of detention - an institution where juvenile offenders can be held temporarily (usually under the supervision of a juvenile in Swan Quarter, Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw and Southern Correctional Institution in Troy - can communicate with audio and video simultaneously, thus minimizing the cost of travel and staff time.
Over the past year, the information highway has been instrumental in bringing community college courses to prisons. Courses have included psychology, literature and business classes. It also has been possible to hold enrichment classes broadcast simultaneously to the prisons from the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Students have been very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to take these courses. Topics such as emotional intelligence, the meaning of dreams and stress management have been the source of much interest.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public, coeducational, research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. Also known as The University of North Carolina, Carolina, North Carolina, or simply UNC (UNC (Universal Naming Convention) A standard for identifying servers, printers and other resources in a network, which originated in the Unix community. A UNC path uses double slashes or backslashes to precede the name of the computer. ) has offered correspondence courses to inmates for more than 25 years through a contract with the North Carolina Department of Correction, which is paid for through inmate canteen proceeds. In the fall of 1997, UNC approached the Division of Prisons regarding a business course that would be offered over the Internet to university students. Since North Carolina does not permit inmate access to the Internet for any purpose, the division proposed offering parts of the course to inmates over the information highway using its videoconferencing capabilities in lieu of Instead of; in place of; in substitution of. It does not mean in addition to. the live Internet classroom discussions. Thus, in January 1998, the university began conducting its first course for inmates over the information highway.
This course, "Introduction to Microeconomics microeconomics
Study of the economic behaviour of individual consumers, firms, and industries and the distribution of total production and income among them. It considers individuals both as suppliers of land, labour, and capital and as the ultimate consumers of the final ," which was developed collaboratively with the UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business and University Access Inc., a distance learning company, offers three university credit hours, which are transferable to community college programs or to the university for further study upon the inmate's release.
Forty students at two prisons were selected for the course, which is offered on the information highway only to inmate students. Other university students participate in Internet discussions while inmates have the opportunity to experience live videoconferences. Students must meet eligibility requirements, including a high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. , previous college course credit and eligibility for release within 10 years. Students view weekly hour-long documentary-style videotaped lectures by UNC Professor of Finance D. Robert Connolly. Each week, two-hour class discussion sessions are held at the two prison units simultaneously over the information highway and are facilitated by a specially trained UNC teaching assistant.
A Positive Reception
This innovative means of course delivery has been well-received by both inmates and correctional staff. The cost-effectiveness is clear: two or three classrooms can be connected via the highway hundreds of miles apart, with the teacher at yet another across the state, communicating live to all classrooms. Several additional community college classes will be offered over the information highway in the fall.
When the success of the university-level course has been evaluated, North Carolina is hoping to continue this project in collaboration with the university system. The School of Science and Math continues to offer short courses this spring, including "Rational Thinking," and community colleges plan to offer additional staff training courses in criminal justice.
Prison administrators and classification committees currently use videoconferencing capabilities on a routine basis, saving travel time and costs.
Jane Young, Ph.D., is director of education for the North Carolina Division of Prisons.