Iowa has been quick to notice the national trend toward online education and has implemented new programs and resources for those who wish to enroll in an institution offering distance education. The following initiatives have been enacted in Iowa to support distance education in the state.
Higher Learning Initiatives
Iowa Distance Learning Association
The Iowa Distance Learning Association, or IDLA, is a nonprofit education association created to help develop distance learning applications for academic institutions and educators in Iowa. The IDLA’s parent organization is the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). Part of the role of IDLA is to disseminate information provided by the USDLA to help all Iowa distance learning educators and online schools in Iowa prosper and strengthen their programs. The goal of the IDLA is to support these programs and help guide distance learning initiatives well into the future.
The IACON is an annual conference that was established by a partnership between the Iowa Distance Learning Association and the Iowa Association for Communication Technology (IACT). The conference is an opportunity for leaders and educators to come together to connect and discuss possibilities on the digital learning front in Iowa. Both students and educators are welcome and topics include areas such as education and technology innovation, changing instructional technology, and communication advancements. The event also sponsors connections to professional development opportunities.
IDLA Points of Presence Award
The Iowa Distance Learning Association Points of Presence Award was established to reward and recognize organizations or individuals who have developed the best distance education programs and initiatives in Iowa. The award is also not limited to Iowa and can be extended to national efforts. One award is given to each of the following categories: K-12 education; higher education; corporate training and education, and telemedicine and military training and development. Some of the main criteria for awards include direct positive impact on distance learners in Iowa and an emphasis on group and experiential learning methods.