Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP)
The UNIPOP Distance Learning and Technology Exchange Service, LLC
Fundacion Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP)
This initiative will develop an infrastructure and program to provide higher education and community sustainable development skills and services through distance learning.
To provide organizational and capacity building support through higher education distance learning to community-based groups, corporations and individuals from communities in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean which develop partnerships in order to participate in international investment and commerce.
The Consortium will:
·offer participating students, Universities and community organizations, opportunity for intense participation in educational and technology exchange experiences;area studies courses, seminars and internships; language reinforcing classes and environmental studies in Panama.
·facilitate technology exchange and interaction with members of disadvantaged communities that are involved in processes that address sustainable development, poverty eradication, democratic and cooperative planning.
This business will employ distance learning as an instrument to provide sustainable development information, technology exchange and higher education to traditionally underserved or excluded populations in the Caribbean and Latin America.The courses offered will be generated by a Consortium of participating institutions, making them available to universities and community groups involved in Sustainable Development across the Western hemisphere through an infrastructure of hubs and networks of Distance Learning Centers (DLCs).
U.S. $2,000,000 of Bond financing for a period of five years to cover equipment and start up expenses.
$1,000,000 of High Risk Venture Capital development work and product-offering design is being provided on a contingency basis by professionals associated with member organizations of UNIPOP.
University and Other Institutional Linkages:La Universidad de las Regiones Autónomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaragüense, URACCAN·Universidad de Panamá ·Asociación de Universidades e Institutos de Investigación del Caribe, UNICA· Centro Universitario Regional del Litoral Atlantico (CURLA) * Caribbean Research Center, MedgarEversCollege, CityUniversity of New York· University of Health Sciences Antigua, UHSA* MontserratCommunity College, Montserrat, W.I.·The Southern Caucus of NGOs for Sustainable Development ·Centro Internacional para el Desarrollo Sostenible, CIDES, Panama; ·Southern Diaspora Research and Development Center, New York·Caribbean American Research Foundation, New York·Fundación Instituto Superior Internacional de Intercambio Tecnológico y de Capacitación, Panama,Instituto del Canal, Universidad de Panamá·Centro Respuesta Afro Panameña·Centro Kus Kun Gala, Panamá· Caribbean Diaspora Press, Inc, New York·W Haywood Burns Environmental EducationCenter, Albany, NY·American Indian Law Alliance, New York
Overview and Introduction:
Bridging the Gap through Distance Learning
Fundacion Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP) recognizes that universal primary education is an unfulfilled promise made to the world.Secondary education is a goal that even unlettered parents hold dear for their children; university education is an end viewed by many of the poor of this world as a remote and unattainable dream.
The mission of UNIPOP therefore, is to make education a household reality that fulfills the promise, pursues the goal and realizes the dream for many marginalized communities that have not had ready and affordable access to higher education.
Even communities that have attained some measure of literacy in the traditional sense, are still unfamiliar with the new tools of literacy – information technology, the computer and the internet.The digital divide is the modern form of segregation and disconnectedness which disenfranchises many, especially among the African descendants, Indigenous and minority ethnic populations of the world.
However, any advocate of sustainable development, both in developing and developed countries, understands that an intricate part of attaining this goal is the production of a well educated and technologically skilled workforce.Similarly, the raising of the educational level of the general population improves a country’s prospects of attaining political stability and aids the functioning of the democratic process by empowering the population with the analytical and communication skills necessary to play a more meaningful role in their own governance and development.
The most effective way of bridging the gap is through technology exchange, capacity buildingand distance learning in its diverse forms, methodologies and operations.The urgent needs may be summarized as:
long distance learning centers and satellites with affordable access to appropriate hardware and software;
digital cameras and multipoint videoconferencing / real time direct feed services;
electronic library resources;
computer literacy training for youth and adult learners, leading to proficiency levels adequate to take online courses, to do research by internet, to interact with counterparts globally through chat lines and email;
the creation of new media products for instruction (CDs, DVDs, streaming media) through a state-of-the-art digital media authoring facility with capability to stream both audio and video;
rich media resources for specially equipped electronic classrooms and laboratories with a high-speed network infrastructure/media distribution system with ample servers and routing equipment, and advanced file and print services;
the use of Blackboard Course Info system which enhances in-class instruction and brings course materials, class discussions and assignments to the web
infusion of culturally sensitive and relevant content that meets the development needs of individuals and communities alike;
internationalizing the curriculum to ensure sound awareness of the realities of globalization and liberalization as well as the challenges of sustainability and inter-disciplinary collaboration;
faculty and staff development in the use of software and hardware for effecting a strongdistance learning curriculum;
technology partnerships that involve an international consortium of university educators from multiple disciplines who would guide students through the entire process
The UNIPOP Distance Learning Facility is linked to a system with telephone feeds to a central international studio classroom with real time online programming at the Southern Diaspora Research and Development Center at 68 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. Where the professor is not present in the classroom, the SDRDC, as proctor, will conduct the sessions. Feeder connections to multi use centers providing remittance services and financing for development services will permit students enrolled in the member universities to be included in the session.
The Distance Learning Infrastructure Service
This component will provide distance learninginfrastructure to the Consortium members andwill provide interactive and/or modular learning products to constituencies in Distance Learning Centers in Panama, Brazil, Dominica, Honduras Nicaragua and Venezuela.In the long run it is envisioned that this infrastructure will make technology transfer, capacity building and research information available to groups in all of the countries of the Americas.
There will be aSouthern Distance Learning HUB developed in Brooklyn, New York. TheCenter in Brooklyn will provide distribution of distance learning products to and from organizations and institutions in the Americas.A coalition of experts from the Diaspora of Latin American and the Caribbean will provide core course input from that complex.The Black Board Platform will be used in conjunction with the Multi Media Studio at the 68 Rogers Avenue site.There will be a World Wide Master Server capable of providing communication linkages to the entire system as required, located in the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center in Albany, New York, which will help to organize theCenter in Brooklyn to be compatible with the distribution and connection features of the AlbanyCenter.
Product Delivery Methodology:
Courses will be generated by the participating Universities. Courses generated by Northern and Southern Centers will be captured by the ConsortiumCenter in Brooklyn, New York. The Consortium will serve as a programmatic, fiscal and academic intermediary.All courses will be accessed from, and all students will register in, the collaborating institutions, with documentation feedback to the headquarters office.
On behalf of the Facility, The Southern Diaspora Research and Development Center (SDRDC) will:
·identify and coordinate participating universities and venues for sustainable development in different countries;
·coordinate the input into the Distance Learning Hub located in the BrooklynCenter.
The Southern Caucus of NGOs and the SDRDC will:
·advise UNIPOP concerning the program’s common elements, as well as components unique to each Center;
·identify changing needs and defining characteristics of underserved, disadvantaged communities; and
·assist UNIPOP in developing new strategies for sustainable development through distance learning that are pro-active and relevant to global and regional influences on the populations served.
The UNIPOP Distance Learning Facility will utilize distance learning education tools to target specific groups of learners across the Americas and the Caribbean that traditionally have been underserved.It further proposes to bridge the digital divide by making computing resources and information technology training available to marginalized communities in order to enable the disenfranchised populace of youth, adults, seniors, teachers and local entrepreneurs to educate and empower themselves.
Great emphasis will be placed on the following:
·the development of a strong curriculum focusing primarily on sustainability,
globalization, internationalization of the curriculum, and interdisciplinary and
emphasizing English as a Second Language (ESL), and Spanish language
·long distance learning centers and satellites, equipped with digital cameras, and
complete with multipoint videoconferencing/real time direct feed and electronic
library resources and services;
·computer literacy training of youth and adult learners, leading to proficiency
levels adequate to take online courses, do research by internet, interact with
counterparts overseas and professors through “chat lines” and email;
·an international network of faculty from multiple disciplines who will guide
students through the entire process;
·faculty and staff development in the use of software and hardware for achieving
an effective long distance learning curriculum;
·the creation of new media products for instruction (CDs, DVDs, and streaming
media) through a state-of-the-art digital media authoring facility with capability to
stream audio and video;
·rich media resources for specially equippedelectronic classrooms/laboratories
with a high-speed network infrastructure/media distribution system with ample
servers and routing equipment, and advanced file and print services;
Full credit-bearing courses will be based on theinternational and US model of three hours of instructional contact per week for a period of 14–15 weeks per semester.
The Distance Learning Market
The distance learning market is world wide, but the focus of the Consortium will be on Latin America and the Caribbean where it will be able to compete effectively given the ability of the group to present in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese.The group will also benefit from the linkages they have already established with community groups in all of the countries of the Americas.
Within the distance learning market, the Consortium intends to participate in bridging the gap of the “digital divide” by participating in the organization of Community Digital Media Centers to make internet based educational and informational services available to the poor at rates they can afford.
The Latin American Market
The Latin American tertiary education market has two principal sections: (i) The Private “for-profit” University System that caters primarily to upper class; andupper middle class students; and (ii) The Public University System which caters to the lower middle class and working poor.The International Institute in Panama represents a unique niche as a private not-for-profit corporation that caters to the lower middle class and working poor.
VALUE PROPOSITION By specializing in a niche in the market and by focusing on effective service to the first level of customers to which it is committed, the Consortium expects in three years to reach a level where the value of its assets increases dramatically and it will be in a position to begin to bring about early retirement of its debts, and expansion in the services it provides.
COMPETITIVE EDGEAND POSITION
The Consortium has a competitive edge to the extent that it specializes and develops the ability to serve disadvantaged communities, for the simple reason that there are few actors in that area at the present time. One of the primary strengths of the consortium is its network of NGOs in each country that are involved in sustainable development activity, including conservation of the environment and the elimination of poverty. This creates a receptivity on the part of these sectors to utilize services in which they feel that they have an ownership stake.
Precisely because it is a not for profit operation, the Consortium will be able to operate at a lower price and provide more value for the dollar spent than the profit making institutions of higher learning.A survey has been made to establish the going prices for similar services rendered in Panama. In keeping with its goal to make Higher Education more affordable to its primary market, the Institute has established in this feasibility study prices that are at least 20 % lower than the prices charged by the industry.In the region, the lowest other Internet educational course charges equal $500.00 per 3 credit course.
PRODUCT DISTRIBUTION AND SALES STRATEGY FOR INSTITUTE SERVICES
A contractor specializing in Internet marketing will be retained to execute an Internet marketing program for the Consortium. Co sponsorship with commission fees incentives will be arranged with member universities and NGO networks for sustainable development in each country for recruitment and referral of customers for distance learning services related to the work they are doing.In addition, the Consortium will be jointly working with the Southern Diaspora Research and DevelopmentCenter to develop Digital Divide Distance Learning Cafes in each of the planned Remittance and Financing for Development multi purpose Centers proposed in communities to insure access to computers by disadvantaged communities. The multi media services of the Consortium will be marketed and distributed by NGOs of the Southern Caucus for Sustainable Development in each of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and by collaborating universities.
The Southern Caucus has networks of community people involved in action plans for sustainable development in selected communities of Latin America and the Caribbean impacted by the presence of poverty.Each of these groups is prepared to support, via outreach, the participation of communities in distance learning activity associated with the developmental needs of their projects. Linkage will also be established with the SchomburgCenter for Research in Black Culture in New York, New York, which has Distance learning capability serving the Harlem, East Harlem, Upper East Side Communities in New York City and the entire North Eastern United States. The W. Haywood Burns member group is establishing a major community based DistanceLearningCenter in Albany, New York.
·General Description of the Consortium
·Management Curriculum Vitae
·The Business Plan and Budget Tables
BUDGET Basic Infrastructure / Equipment at the Brooklyn Location
Establish a Business Web Site at the following costs:
Also, they provide for the moderate use of graphics.
The ultimate high speed server
(for high end use of graphics) - D3 server: $35,000.
For a Local Area Network within the site, use the same server or separate server at above costs.(Choice based on amount of activity on server.)
Use Microsoft Windows software, Del has both servers and switchers.
License for 50 modes (computer work stations)
50 pcs with multimedia
Site licenses or 50 pc licenses for Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver
Wireless Internet connections for all computers:quicker and easier set up
Security system for wireless Internet
1 Mac Powerbook (1 GHz, SuperDrive)$3,000
1 SONY GRX600 (2 GHz, DVD-RW)$4,500
3 Canon GL2 digital cameras (3 @ $3000)$9,000]
3 high end tripods, 2 studio lighting kit,
2 portable lighting kit lavalier (?) mikes
plus studio mikes and boom mike
electrician kit (extension cords, etc.),
2 audio recorders
Video Post Production/Web Page Production/Software Production
1 Power Mac(G4, dual, 1.25 GHz; two 23” displays; service)$12,600
1 Dell Dimension 8250(2.4 GHz, two 20” flat displays, service)$7,500
1 Avid Express PowerPack (editing)$2,500
2 Final Cut Pro (2 @ $1,000)$2,000
1 DVD Studio Pro (MAC)$1,000
1 Pioneer DVR-A05 + Pinacle 500$900
2 Macromedia Director MX (2 @ $1,200)$2,400
2 Macromedia Studio MX (2 @ $800)$1,600
2 Photoshop (2 @ $610)
General DescriptionofThe Consortium
FundacionUniversidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP)is an international umbrella organizationthat serves the global communities represented by the Southern Caucus of NGOs for Sustainable Development, and the Multi-Regional Partnership of NGOs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the other islands of the Oceans and Seas.The Consortium is constituted by universities and research centers which provide affiliation and collaboration in academic and research opportunities globally. The purpose of this Consortium Proposal is to provide mechanisms for institutional collaboration in research, publications and affordable distance education that would serve to empower people by helping them to determine their own destinies through sustainable economic, environmental and social development.
Current Track Record See Misssion Statement page.
Fundacion Universidad Popular de Desarrollo Sostenible de Las Americas (UNIPOP) Calle 8A-E56, La Riviera de Don Bosco, Panama, Republica de Panama