Governor Richardson’s IDEAL Initiatives Impact NMSU

ACANS News & Information Center

Governor Richardson’s IDEAL Initiatives Impact NMSU

In keeping with Governor Bill Richardson’s initiatives to place New Mexico at the forefront of eLearning, New Mexico’s statewide distance learning management program, Blackboard Vista, was officially launched this past summer (2008). The move distinguishes New Mexico as the first state in the nation to create a statewide eLearning system for its entire constituency, including state agencies. For public schools and institutions of higher learning, the move opens statewide enrollment for Innovative Digital Education and Learning in New Mexico (IDEAL-NM) and allows them avenues to share eLearning initiatives.

NMSU Among the First to Incorporate eLearning in Curriculum

Now almost 20 years old, online learning or eLearning has definitely found a place at New Mexico State University. eLearning was incorporated into NMSU’s curriculum via WebCT in 1997. That year, NMSU offered three online classes. During Fall semester 2008, more than 60 percent of the classes offered at NMSU’s main campus were either delivered via WebCT or had some component of the class that was delivered via WebCT. According to Norma Grijalva, Director of ICT Telecommunication and Networking Services, WebCT has been growing at a rate of 20 percent a year for the last three years. New Mexico State University was one of the first institutions of higher learning to incorporate WebCT into their curriculum, and today, NMSU is one of the biggest WebCT educational institutions in the country.

Online learning provides alternatives to the traditional face-to-face mode of course delivery and as NMSU online enrollment suggests, it is among the fastest growing trends in education. Among its appeals, online learning crosses the borders of time and space and enables students who may be disadvantaged by these barriers to enroll in classes they would not otherwise have access to. Additionally, since the classes are delivered via the Internet, online students increase their computer literacy, which in turn helps prepare them to compete in a global economy.

Among the eLearning technologies being used at NMSU are WebCT, Centra, ITV and iTunes. Use of these technologies opens up endless educational possibilities for New Mexico residents and when eLearning infrastructures currently planned are in place, the lives of all New Mexicans will be enhanced.

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