Gov. Bev Perdue signed last week elevating and expanding the role of the North Carolina eLearning Commission, making it an integral part of the state’s .

In addition to guiding the further progression of eLearning opportunities in the state’s public schools, community colleges and universities, the eLearning Commission will provide crucial advice on the technological components of Ready, Set, Go!

Federal funding recently awarded to North Carolina through the program will enable the commission to broaden advances in eLearning throughout the state and use technology to create a more efficient and effective education system.

Gov. Perdue talked to teachers about the commission during a visit to a training session in Durham.

"No longer can North Carolina rely on the old-fashioned way of teaching. The future is now – and we must prepare our students for the 21st century world that will face them after graduation," said Perdue. “Virtual learning gives more students more choices – and better access to the education they deserve.”

The 30 commission members will be formally appointed by the governor and serve two-year terms. They will include representatives from the following areas: educational organizations and institutions, information technology providers, nonprofits, business entities, and state and local government agencies.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton has been named chair of the group, and Senator Richard Stevens and Representative Joe Tolson will serve as vice-chairs.

Other members of the group include:

• Robert Brown, dean of Continual Learning at UNC-Greensboro
• John Condrey, Rutherford County manager
• Lee Dedmon, principal at Highland School of Technology
• Cindy Fertenbaugh, Hewlett Packard
• Jerry Fralick, state chief information officer
• Ann Goodnight, director of community relations at SAS
• Susan Johnson, CIO of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Education Center
• Glenn Kleiman, professor at and executive director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NCSU
• Alan Mabe, vice president for Academic Planning and University-school Programs, UNC
• Dr. Robert McMahan, dean and professor at West Carolina University
• Bill McNeal, executive director of the NC Association of School Administrators
• Tom Miller, professor/vice provost of Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (NCSU)
• Mary Musacchia, executive director of Executive Team Advisors
• Steve Parrott, executive director of Wake Education Partnership
• Jane Patterson, director of e-NC Authority at the NC Rural Economic Development Center, Inc
• Elmer Poe, assistant vice chancellor of Emerging Academic Initiatives at East Carolina University
• Bill Randall, associate VP for Learning Technology Systems for the N.C. Community College System
• Melissa Thibault, executive director at Learn NC
• Dr. Hope Williams, president of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
• Saundra Williams, vice president of the North Carolina Community College System
• Thomas Williams, president of the NC School of Science and Mathematics

As part of the Career and College – Ready, Set, Go! initiative, the eLearning Commission will make recommendations to the governor regarding ways to improve virtual learning opportunities, including a unified data system for all students, improved network services, better technology at reduced costs, and the revision of any laws or regulations that may stand in the way of maximizing eLearning’s potential. It will also develop global partnerships to enhance eLearning opportunities and provide advice to the governor as requested.

The commission is expected to meet quarterly and more often, if needed.

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