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Texas Tech eLearning Leader Testifies Before Texas Senate Committee on Education

By Leslie Cranford, Media Relations Coordinator

On April 4, Justin R. Louder, Ed.D., associate vice provost for Texas Tech University eLearning & Academic Partnerships, testified before the Texas Senate Committee on Education.

In response to the charge from the Texas Senate Committee on Education to explore ways to expand high quality education opportunities in Texas, Dr. Louder spoke on behalf of TTU K-12, beginning with Texas Tech's history of distance education.

"Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, has a long history of offering distance and online education," Dr. Louder said. "We started back in the 1960s when it was truly distance. We had faculty travel around West Texas offering classes toward the Master's in Engineering. In 1967 we started offering programs via satellite technology, and in 1996 we offered our first fully online degree. Now today we have over 100 online programs, including more online doctorates than any other school in the State of Texas."

Regarding TTU K-12 specifically, Dr. Louder explained its beginnings 25 years ago.

"TTU K-12 was established in 1993 as a special purpose district by TEA, and our students can go multiple different ways. But our full-time high school students graduate with a Texas diploma that says Texas Tech University High School on it."

Dr. Louder provided supporting documentation including ACT scores of TTU K-12 students showing that they are higher than the Texas and national averages, as well as enrollment trends, upcoming course additions and demographics including gender, race and ethnicity of its student population.

In describing the ways in which TTU K-12 supports students, teacher and districts, Dr. Louder related two recent stories.

"This year we had a school district in West Texas that lost a science teacher right before the semester started, so the school district contracted with us to offer one of our online science classes at no cost to their students," he said. "Also, in an effort to help the students in the Houston area, in areas that were decimated by the hurricane, we cut all of our costs – fees, tuition – significantly for that group of students so that was one less thing they had to worry about, that they could still attend TTU K-12 at a very reduced rate."

Dr. Louder reiterated the TTU K-12 mission of educating students across Texas, no matter the situation.

"Texas Tech has a deep commitment to online education and educating students wherever they are," he said.

To view Dr. Louder's complete testimony, click here and scroll to 4:23:14 (best viewed in Firefox or Chrome browsers).



Justin Louder Texas Senate Committee
To view Dr. Louder's complete testimony, click here and scroll to 4:23:14. (Best viewed in Firefox or Chrome browsers).