Grant Funding Supports Remote Learning Enhancements at U of I
July 16, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — July 16, 2020 — Access to online education will be broader and easier thanks to nearly $1 million in funding to the University of Idaho from Gov. Brad Little’s emergency relief fund aimed at helping educators enhance remote instruction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The university’s pivot to online instruction during COVID-19 demonstrates we can support students in a digital learning space,” U of I President Scott Green said. “We are committed to our in-person offerings this fall semester, and in parallel will use funding like this investment from Gov. Brad Little to help us continue to improve online offerings so we can better serve students where they are.”
U of I received approximately $993,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund for digital infrastructure and hardware for university classrooms throughout Idaho. The funding was part of $15.7 million allocated for K-12, higher education, Idaho Public Television and Career and Technical Education and approved by the Idaho State Board of Education.
Several U of I programs are already offered exclusively online, and all U of I courses shifted to remote learning for the second half of the Spring 2020 semester as a result of COVID-19. The state money awarded will allow U of I to invest in software, hardware and other digital infrastructure to efficiently enhance online and remote instruction for more programs across a wide array of disciplines.
The funding will also provide U of I with the tools needed to develop online/distance courses and augment existing classroom technology, including hardware such as upgraded laptop computers.
GEER money will also go toward enhancing online access at the university’s research and Extension centers so students will be better able to connect to their faculty members around the state. In addition, infrastructure upgrades will enable faculty at county Extension offices the ability to better provide coursework support – including as guest lecturers. U of I employs 130 faculty located at research and Extension centers throughout Idaho.
The University of Idaho was already looking at improving online offerings before COVID-19. An online education working group launched in Spring 2020 with the goal of evaluating how more courses can be delivered virtually. The working group, which includes both university and external stakeholders, is chaired by College of Graduate Studies Dean Jerry McMurtry.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu