PBS Expands Distance-Learning Program

PBS Expands Distance-Learning Program
By Ronald Roach

ALEXANDRIA, Va.

For millions of adult learners across the country seeking a convenient way to sift through the confusing array of educational alternatives available to them, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is offering a helping hand.

Last month, PBS launched “PBS Campus,” — a free Web site that allows users to search for college courses offered via distance learning, identify and contact colleges where they can enroll in those courses, and learn about other options to help them pursue their education. PBS Campus is a collaborative effort among PBS, local public television stations and colleges nationwide.

PBS provides full course materials — delivered via video, the Web or both — and the colleges provide the instructors, register the students, and award the credit and degrees. Students don’t actually take a course from PBS; instead, PBS Campus is where users find out about courses they can take and the hundreds of local colleges offering these courses. Already, more than 120 courses are offered through PBS Campus.

In recent years, PBS has been a major presence in the distance-learning arena: More than 230,000 students earned credit by taking PBS courses in 2002, and since 1981, more than 6 million students have been awarded credit through PBS-sponsored courses.

“The launch of ‘PBS Campus’ marks a new era in PBS’ and local public television stations’ long history of serving America’s colleges and their students,” says Judy Harris, a PBS executive vice president. “Colleges for 23 years have trusted PBS and its local stations to provide the best, highly-produced multimedia courses for their students. Now we are unveiling a powerful, easy-to-use online resource to match up actual students with opportunities to take PBS courses at these same colleges.”

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