The goal of the EAHP project is to make UA health programs accessible to the very students who will then become the health care workers we need. This is done by building UA capacity to effectively meet current and future demands for health care provider education in the state.
To do this, an extensive planning process was completed. The plan focuses on those programs that inherently rely on technology to give students fuller access. That includes distance education and simulation-based education. The plan addresses both access and improved efficacy and attempts to answer the following questions:
1. How do we effectively deliver those programs - from recruiting through graduation - across the UA system?
2. How do we strengthen interdependent relationships with the health provider community to enhance clinical placement opportunities, share finite resources, and build potential UA capacity to offer professional development including the use of clinical simulation?
Expanded Access Includes Distance Education
At this time the UA Statewide Academic Council (SAC) is finalizing a distance education plan in response to the 2009 Legislative Audit Report of the UA Distance Education Delivery and Technology. The EAHP Plan reflects action steps that would address the four audit recommendations and should be seen as a subset of that wider planning effort. Those recommendations are summarized as:
1. UA President ensures that the distance education recommendations are implemented.
2. Develop incentives for MAUs to collaborate on distance education initiatives.
3. Faculty receives sufficient distance education training and technical support.
4. Develop, implement and enforce use of standard distance education course parameters and uniform course description information.
Various forms of distance education have been a focus of efforts over the past seven years. Those efforts have taught us that our health programs delivered through distance technology exist not only to bridge geography between instructor and learner but also to bridge time. By way of example, many of our target students live in rural Alaska where there are not enough others to make a learning cohort; for them the program needs to bridge place or geography. Other students need access to courses during non-traditional hours to accommodate their work or family obligations; for them the method of delivery must bridge time rather than geography.
Expanded access means making programs available to students regardless of delivering campus location either with technology or faculty traveling to a cohort’s community to sponsor learning to students who would not otherwise enroll and persist through completion.