NETg To Provide e-Learning to 850,000 Students, Faculty and Staff in the State of Michigan’s Educational System
NAPERVILLE, Ill.– NETg, powering intelligent decisions through learning, has signed an agreement with Michigan Virtual University (MVU) to provide the state’s education system with a comprehensive online learning program. The courses will be available to as many as 850,000 faculty, staff and students in Michigan’s K-12, University and community college systems. This program, the broadest nationwide in its scope, will help teachers incorporate technology and technology-based information into their curricula and provide students with access to online classes for information technologies (IT) and other professional skills.
In making the announcement today, Michigan Gov. John Enger said, “To attract and retain companies in Michigan, we need to ensure a vigorous workforce fluent in the digital language of the New Economy. The Information Technology Training Initiative will help deliver computer-related training through existing education channels to the workers of the future — the students of today.”
Through NETg, MVU will offer IT courseware covering topics from Microsoft Word® to advanced networking, Internet programming, and e-commerce topics. It will also provide a library of business and professional development courses in communication, presentation skills, organization skills and time management.
“Together, NETg and Michigan Virtual University will transform Michigan’s educational system to create the next generation workforce,” said Gary Lopez, president and CEO of NETg. “Teachers who understand technology will become more effective teachers. The students who learn from those teachers will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
“In January of 2001, Michigan began a program to provide every teacher in the state’s K-12 schools with a laptop computer and access to NETg’s effective learning programs,” continued Engler. “NETg will not only help us make our students more technology-savvy, it will also help us make better teachers. From online lesson plans, to expanded use of spreadsheets and databases in the sciences, to weekly e-mails to parents about their children’s progress, Michigan will set the standard for using technology to improve learning.”
Students enrolled in degree programs at all Michigan institutions will have free access to all courses through MVU’s web site or, in some cases, through their own schools’ web sites. Students will be able to access materials as primary or supplementary content to standard courses, part of an independent study program, or as review for certification tests. Another eventual use will be as a just-in-time help desk, accessing NETg Learning Objects — short (5 – 10 minute) blocks of information on particular skills they need instantly. For example, students may use the help desk to learn how to create and/or insert a table in Microsoft Word for a term paper or learn how to create formulas in an Excel spreadsheet for lab data in the sciences.
In addition, Michigan’s teachers, college faculty, and staff will have access to NETg’s learning resources for personal and professional development and creating courses and programs. Courseware will also be available to the Michigan Technical Education Centers (MTECs) that operate as part of several Michigan community colleges. MTECs will be able to offer NETg based courses to full-time students and provide training for local businesses as a reseller of NETg training.
“The State of Michigan’s program with NETg will have a profound effect in preparing students for the workforce,” said Bill Blalock, director of educational sales for NETg. “NETg is excited to be involved with not only powering intelligent decisions through learning for the Global 2000 but in also helping create a stronger workforce for the future.”
The expanding role of Information Technology in the workplace
According to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Information Technology (IT) is a major driver of the U.S. economy and stock market. IT is improving the productivity of all business sectors, providing critical educational tools for students, and improving the life of consumers. High tech and IT-enabled business sectors are growing rapidly, creating millions of high paying jobs and contributing to the nation’s exports. The Department of Labor estimates that new and expanding technologies will account for 80 percent of new jobs in the next 10 years. Today, nearly 350,000 or 10 percent of IT jobs today are unfilled and that number is expected to increase between 20-30 percent over the next 10 years.
Despite the growing demand for IT in the workplace, states have not been able to meet the challenge of integrating IT into the education system. Although Michigan ranks among the top 15 states in education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) research states that nearly 65 percent of teachers have never used a computer before and only 20 percent feel prepared to integrate educational technology into classroom instruction. Although U.S. schools spend almost $5 billion on technology, only 6 percent of that amount is spent on teacher training.
David Spencer, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual University, is elated with the NETg program. “Colleges and universities are the most wired community of the Web,” he said, “and this library of quality IT courses and the free delivery system target a compelling demographic; that is, more than 90 percent of college students access the Internet and spend 84 percent of that time pursuing academic activities. And more than 96 percent of K-12 schools are connected to the Internet. This initiative is going to speed `time to competency’ at all levels.”
NETg, a subsidiary of Boston-based Harcourt General, Inc. (NYSE: H – news), is powering intelligent decisions through learning for the Global 2000. The company has a portfolio of over 1,000 courses in several languages, covering professional IT, desktop and personal development skills and serves over 4,000 customers worldwide. NETg’s proven learning techniques are based on an innovative course architecture developed by NETg in the early 1990’s – The NETg Learning Object (NLO). The company leads the industry with a full range of e-Learning solutions incorporating Internet services and interactivity with over 75,000 learning objects for leading companies such as Daimler-Chrysler, Honeywell, Procter & Gamble and Dow Chemical. NETg’s worldwide headquarters are located in Naperville, Illinois, USA. For more information visit NETg at www.netg.com.
About Michigan Virtual University (MVU) (www.mivu.org) is a private, 501(3)© tax-exempt corporation established in 1998 by Gov. John Engler to provide online learning opportunities to Michigan’s citizens. MVU does not grant degrees or certificates or teach courses, but acts as a broker of programs made available by Michigan’s public and private colleges, universities and commercial training providers. MVU is the parent corporation of the Michigan Automotive and Manufacturing College and the Michigan Virtual High School, approved earlier this year by the Michigan legislature and Governor John Engler and is expected to be operational by fall 2001.