Guest Column: OneNet is Critical to Connecting Oklahomans to Educational Resources

by John McArthur, President, Cameron University

President John McArthurIn today’s world, being “connected” is no longer optional. We work, get our news and entertainment, stay connected with friends and family, and do our shopping and banking — all online. That includes education. Whether it is a middle school student doing research for a class project or a professor teaching a college course, the internet has become an indispensable part of the learning process.

Thanks to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and OneNet, its statewide high-speed broadband network, the infrastructure exists to serve the needs of a wide spectrum of public entities, including colleges and universities; K-12 schools; career technology centers; public libraries; local, tribal, state and federal governments; court systems; rural health care delivery systems; nonprofit organizations; and research programs. OneNet offers enhanced computing capabilities that enable each of these entities to better serve their communities.

OneNet’s technology is of great value to anyone who wishes to enroll in online college courses. Now, proximity to an educational facility is no longer a barrier for rural Oklahomans seeking degrees. In the case of Cameron University in Lawton, OneNet and the Oklahoma Community Anchor Network — a broadband network more than 1,000 miles long that connects 92 community anchor institutions in 35 Oklahoma counties to the state’s existing networks — have enhanced our ability to deliver quality, college-level instruction to our students.

There is absolutely no doubt that our constituents — students, faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters alike — have benefited from the availability of high-speed broadband. It provides faster and more reliable connectivity to Cameron’s branch campus in Duncan, as well as for coursework we offer in conjunction with Western Oklahoma State College in Altus.

Cameron University LogoOneNet has removed barriers for Cameron and other higher education institutions across the state, no matter their size. Community colleges and universities can share courses to provide enhanced educational offerings at each site. Shared resources also help keep a college education affordable. The state’s comprehensive universities can connect with high-performance, scientific networks to enhance their research collaborations.

OneNet offers extraordinary broadband capabilities and technology solutions designed to support the complex computing needs of our state’s educators and researchers. Major research projects depend on high broadband capabilities to share and analyze data, whether it’s inside the state, across the country or around the world.

Collectively, we strive to produce more college graduates, and by doing so, we help grow Oklahoma’s economy and improve the quality of life of its citizens. In today’s knowledge-based world, our students, from kindergarten through higher education, need access to technology that supports and enables learning. OneNet provides Oklahoma’s rural schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and hospitals the technology they need to stay competitive in today’s economy.

OneNet is a catalyst to develop advanced technology in Oklahoma through the creativity and innovation of our state’s higher education and research communities.

Photos courtesy of Cameron University

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