The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Distance Learning Program for the Delta from Edgenics, Funded by USDA

Posted on July 15, 2008 at 11:36 AM

We would like to disseminate this information about a distance learning program being supported by Dr. Robert Dansby of Edgenics and Dr. Obadiah Simmons, Jr., Associate Dean/Director, Division of Continuing Education & Special Programs, College of Professional Studies, Grambling State University, and funded by USDA Distance Learning Grant and Loan Program. Robert Dansby participated in our recent conference in Washington, DC, and Obadiah Simmons is the lead Louisiana coordinator for the Delta Grassroots Caucus.

Edgenics is a private company that is focused on implementing leading edge e-Learning technology and academic programs to help improve educational outcomes and prepare students for careers in emerging industries. We certainly applaud any and all efforts to promote e-Learning technology in the Delta.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus has always been a strong supporter of distance learning programs, and we would encourage all educators and others interested in this subject to look at this promising program. Lee Riley Powell, MDGC


Dr. Obadiah Simmons of Grambling State University has been leading the coordination of Edgenics’ efforts to identify schools and/or school districts in the Delta that may be interested in participating in the educational programs being implemented by Edgenics. Dr. Simmons has already identified and obtained preliminary commitments from a number of schools. We are of course interested in bring more schools on board.

Therefore, any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated in disseminating this information to other schools who may be interested in taking part in this program.

The first educational program that Edgenics is implementing is called the Digital Journalism Program. Edgenics is working to implement this program in schools. Following is a brief description of the Digital Journalsim Program.

The Digital Journalism Program is being offered in collaboration with Edgenics, Inc. (see The Edgenics-Digital Journalism Program consists of two components: (a) Digital Journalism Academic Program [designed as a regular school curriculum or magnet school program]; and, (b) the Digital Journalism After-School Program [designed as a non-credit after-school program]. Edgenics, Inc. is looking for high schools to participate in one or both of these Digital Journalism Programs. Edgenics has received funding from the USDA Distance Learning Grant and Loan Program to support the Digital Journalism Program and participating High Schools. Edgenics, Inc. received $11.2 million dollars in funding from USDA to fund Phase I.

High schools that agree to participate according to USDA’s (the funding agent) approved guidelines will be provided a “Media Lab” for use in the instructional programs. The Media Lab will consist of the following primary components:

(1) Computer Workstations for up to 30 students’ use;

(2) Computer Workstation for the teacher’s use;

(3) Local Area Network (LAN);

(4) Multi-Media Server;

(5) Router; and

(6) Applications software such as Adobe CS3 Graphics Editing Suite.

This is over an IP (Internet) network links that will be provided by Edgenics in association with our networking partner New Edge Networks. To take part in the program, a school would need approval of the Principal, Superintendent, and perhaps School Board; commitment to provide the program to students, and allocation of certain resources to support the program, e.g. providing space, support of instructional staff, etc.

Two schools in Michigan have already been participating in this program, and of course Edgenics, Dr. Simmons and other educators are interested in expanding this program into the Greater Delta Region. Other schools will be added as arrangements are made for their participation.

The Digital Journalism curriculum has been developed in collaboration with university and industry experts in the field of convergent journalism. The courses cover various aspects of newspaper, broadcast and internet media that are relevant in today’s convergent media industry. The Digital Journalism was initially launched at two high schools (in Michigan) in September, 2007 on a pilot basis. More than 200 9th grade students at these two high schools enrolled in the program. The program at these schools will be expanded to cover the 9th and 10th grades during the 2008 Fall term and will cover all high school grade levels by 2010. We would like to launch a similar implementation at the schools in the Delta.

Feel free to share/forward this e-mail message directly to those in the Delta, ie. school district administrators, teachers, municipal leaders, civic leaders, that might have an interest in helping their schools by participating in this project.

Please ask people to advise us at their earliest convenience if they are interested in participating. Please note that:

  1. Schools that commit to participate by October 30, 2008 can be scheduled to begin participating in the Digital Journalsim Program as early as January, 2009.

  2. Schools that commit to participate by March 28, 2009 can be scheduled to begin participating in the Digital Journalsim Program as early as September, 2009.

Thank you for your consideration and your cooperation in sharing this information with other potentially interested parties in the Delta.

Please contact Robert Dansby if you have any questions or require additional information. You may reach him by phone at (732) 887-5535 or via e-mail at