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POTENTIAL CLIENTS FOR RRC ON-LINE TRAINING - draft
There are two client groups for RRC on-line training: 1) students enrolled in campus-based programs and 2) students enrolled in distance education courses. This section will emphasize distance education. The use of on-line training for campus-based students is discussed under the heading USE OF ON-LINE TECHNOLOGIES FOR IN-HOUSE AND HYBRID COURSES.
The POTENTIAL. The potential pool of clients is vast. In theory, anyone, anywhere could access RRC on-line courses as long as they have access to an Internet connection. In Manitoba Escape Communications claims to provide a local POP to approximately 98% of the population.
The Stats Canada Household Internet Use Survey conducted in October 1998 reports that 36% of households have at least one person who used the Internet as a communication vehicle last year (from any location), up 25% from 1997. 23% used the Internet from their home, an increase of 44% from the 1997 survey. The percent of Internet use of rural households was equal to the national average from any loaction in 1997. The phenomenal increase of Internet use from the home represents a rapidly growing pool of potential on-line students.
Manitoba's household Internet use is close to the national average[Statistics Canada, 1999 - http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/990423/d990423b.htm]
The REALITY. The reality is that although 98% of the population in Manitoba has access to a local POP, the quality of the phone lines across the province is not equitable, so some communities have limited access to the higher end uses of the Internet. Audio, video and even large graphics can be a problem to download or view. And, although 98% could have an Internet connection only 33.5% of households reported regular use from any location (19.9% from home, 22.3% from work, 12.5% from school, 2.4 % from a library, 2.8% from other).
In addition to the quality of the connections available, the cost of the hardware, software and connections to access on-line courses is an issue for lower and fixed income families. The "digital divide" is a social policy issue, but it will have some impact on the selection of courses or programs to be developed for on-line education.