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Kari Fluegel

RELEASE: 94-010 January 28, 1994


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration put technology to use to train more than 300 people in Electrical Safety Standards earlier this year.

The class, which originated at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Jan. 3, was transmitted NASA-wide using the space agency's Video Teleconferencing System to provide two-way instruction. This precedent setting effort marks an addition to the way OSHA Training Institute or in field locations, but with the advent of ViTS technology, instruction via television becomes an interactive event rather than a one-way teaching experience.

""Long distance learning technology is a new way of usin limited resources to provide...needed training without sacrificing effectiveness or quality," ssaid Joseph Dear, Assistant Secretaryof Labor for OSHA.

The system allows students to interact audibly and visually with the instructor in real time. In addition to an interactive classroom situation, the NASA ViTS network offers the opportunity for two federal agencies to unite efforts, reach more individuals, and save tax dollars.

The ViTS network has been used successfully for several years at JSC. Originally designed as a interactive conference network, the NASA Safety Training Center saw a way to utilize time on hte system and transmit safety training via the network. In 1992, they offered their first NSTC course through this medium.

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Jim Lloyd, NASA Director of Safety and Risk Management in Washington, D.C., said Federal agencies have to look for ways such as this to bring effective safety training to the individuals who, by virtue of reduced budgets, can not avail themselves to training activities.

Ronald Mouw, Chief of Division of Training and Educational and Educational Programs for OSHA said he felt the effort "went very well. OSHA employees observing at NASA sites indicated that everyting went well." As to the future, Mr. Mouw indicated that "we are selecting other safety and health topics appropriate for this medium."

Video-teleconferencing represents a new paradigm in safety education, with its capabilities for back-and-forth teacher-to-pupil interaction. This joint effort between NASA and OSHA also signals a new cooperative relationship between the agencies that will serve as a model for the future.



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