As part of a Department of Education Title III Grant program, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) has partnered with the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma to establish a rural internet access site housed in the Tribal Library in Quapaw, Okla. The site provides three computers with high-speed internet access and a color printer to distance learning students, and it is one of five developed under the grant. Two other sites have been installed through partnerships with the Wyandotte and Seneca-Cayuga Nations, one has been installed in Kah-Ne Hall on the NEO campus, and the final site is housed at the NEO Grove Center to increase access for rural students who may not have reliable high-speed internet access. “NEO has gone above and beyond to make education accessible to everyone, even if they don’t have a reliable vehicle or internet connection,” said Pattie Billings, Quapaw Tribal Library director. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to partner with NEO and house this access site.”
Each access site will be open to NEO students and include access to tutor.com, and NEO is developing a schedule with partner sites to allow evening access for students. The development of rural access sites is one of many projects encompassed in NEO’s Title III Grant that focuses on expanding educational attainment through improving technology. The new campus fiber-optic network is also partly funded through the grant and will extend the internet access on campus to include agriculture classrooms and facilities on Synar Farm. The system will also expand NEO’s internet to accommodate more students and increase speeds.
“Over the last year, our grant staff has worked diligently to establish partnerships with three area tribes concerning these access sites – and access is exactly what these partnerships are about. Our goal is to bring technology and high speed internet to students in rural areas as well as provide opportunities outside of NEO for students to connect with other distance learners.” Ryan Orcutt, Center for Academic Success and Advising coordinator, oversaw the development of the access sites.
Billings noted that the site in the Quapaw Tribal Library is unique thanks to a recent Institute of Museum & Library Services grant that allows access to over 50,000 e-book and audio book titles. The library also has thousands of print titles and a collection of rare historical books. “The Quapaw Tribal Library is a public library and anyone can get a card,” she said. “My hope is that through this partnership our library and this access site will remain in constant use.” For more information about the rural access sites, contact Ryan Orcutt at Ryan.Orcutt@neo.edu. (Photo from left: Marilyn Rogers, Quapaw Tribal Business Committee member; Tamara Smiley-Reeves, Quapaw Tribal Business Committee Secretary/Treasurer; Pattie Billings, Quapaw Tribal Library Director; Ryan Orcutt, Center for Academic Success and Advising Coordinator; Thomas Mathews, Quapaw Tribal Business Committee Vice-Chairman; Zack Turley, Quapaw Tribal Business Committee Member)