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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The first cooperative master’s degree program in information sciences via distance education technology is being launched by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Virginia, UT officials announced Friday.

Using teleconference communications systems, Tennessee students will be able to earn a master of science degree in information sciences in Chattanooga, Kingsport and Memphis.

Classes at multiple locations in Virginia will enable students to earn an advanced degree without crossing state lines.

“The program’s content prepares students for one of the 21st century’s most promising careers. People who can access, manage and distribute millions of pieces of information in consumable fashion for the everyday person will be in high demand,” said Jose-Marie Griffiths, UTK acting vice chancellor.

Saundra Hutchison, University of Virginia program coordinator, said teleclasses are not new, but inter-university cooperation in using them is.

Administrators at both institutions said the demand for distance education courses is growing.

“Enrollments for this initial program indicate students are anxious to participate in inter-institutional distance education programs as long as those programs address their interests,”

said LaVerne Lindsey, UT-Knoxville continuing studies and distance education dean The master’s degree in information sciences is already offered at the UT Knoxville campus through traditional on-site instruction.

Fall 1996 classes consist of a computer skills course and an information access and retrieval course, both of which are geared toward orienting students to the program.

Eight sites in Tennessee and Virginia are being considered for the program.

“The success of UTK-UVA information sciences master’s program will likely establish the program as a model for inter-university cooperation in the future,” said Hutchison.

Contact: Lea Anne Law (423-974-0284)