University of Pittsburgh
April 4, 2001



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, April 5 -- The University of Pittsburgh Computer Learning Center, a division of Pitt's College of General Studies (CGS), will offer non-credit information technology courses through state-of-the-art interactive television to employees of businesses in the rural area of Bradford, PA.

The expanded IT education will be offered this fall, through a Link-to-Learn grant recently awarded by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Pitt-Bradford's business management department, in collaboration with CGS, will receive $207,944 for the project, "A Model for the Delivery of Advanced IT Training to Rural PA."

"This grant will help to fully equip our Computer Learning Center with an interactive television (ITV) facility, so that, for the first time, content material being taught in downtown Pittsburgh will reach employees of Bradford area companies," said Susan Kinsey, dean of CGS. "The program is aimed at assuring the survival of Bradford-area businesses that otherwise could not afford to send their employees for training far away."

Pitt's Computer Learning Center, in the Kossman Building, 100 Forbes Ave., Downtown, is used by approximately 700 companies every academic year as their source of employee training in such areas as computer software, project management, programming languages, computer networks, the popular WebMaster Certificate Programs, or the soon-to-be-launched E-Commerce Management Certificate program. A selected group of courses will be offered through the new project, tailored to meet the needs of the Bradford area business community.

Classroom participants at the Computer Learning Center and the Pitt-Bradford classrooms will be able to see and hear one another and each course will be totally interactive. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase and install the equipment, train instructors to use it, and help the instructors adapt their curriculum to an ITV format.

"This is the Computer Learning Center's initial step into distance education," said Center Director Carla Depperman. "One of our goals is to contribute to the development of the workforce and the economic revitalization of our region. This is certainly in line with the values of the University of Pittsburgh as a whole and the mission of CGS, and this project is a wonderful statement in that regard," she said.

Richard Nelson, chairman of Pitt-Bradford's business management department, agrees. "We have sought to combine a first-class IT training facility, careful instructional modification, and state-of-the-art distance education technology. I believe this initiative can serve as an authentic model," he said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education this year awarded $5 million

in Link-to-Learn grants to 21 public and private colleges and universities across the state.