Evaluation of the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program: Regional Electronic Alternative Learning Center (REAL)

Author(s)
Nicole Bartfai and Kyle Snow
 
Date
1999
 
 
Abstract
The Regional Electronic Alternative Learning (REAL) Center was designed to provide two-way interactive instruction to a maximum of 20 students unable to remain in the traditional school environment. Students were referred to REAL because of health-related issues and discipline problems. Over the course of the 2- year grant period, Project REAL served 11 students (7 middle/high school students and 4 GED students) and an additional 3 since the grant period ended. The instructional facilitator taught students via videoconferencing once a day. The nstudents were required by written contract to commit 20 hours a week, which included 5 hours on line and 15 hours of independent study, to the project. Outcomes for students varied, but overall most students experienced some level of success, and by the end of the 1998-99 school year, five students will have graduated through REAL. Throughout the project period, REAL staff were frustrated by the lack of referrals the project received from the counties, as well as the long delays experienced in connecting a student to the center via ISDN lines. The   Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) indicated that difficulties in establishing connections, the limited commitment from district staff in terms of referrals, problems encountered when finding a contractor, and the administrative work associated with the grant contributed to the fact that project staff would not conduct a similar project. In general, the REAL Center demonstrated the feasibility of such an approach, but the number of obstacles encountered made the stability of the model difficult.
 
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