This time of year is always exciting -- with students going off to college, coming home from college, graduating, switching majors and sometimes changing schools. It’s especially exciting when we hear stories like that of the 16 year old Florida student who received her college degree days ahead of her high school diploma.
Reading that success story this week reminded me of the importance of colleges and universities offering dual enrollment to high school students -- and how technology can make it more accessible to more students.
One example that comes to mind is that of Coastal Bend College here in Texas. They are preparing their 3,700 students, from across four campuses, for jobs in the real world. They achieve this by providing hundreds of academic classes, as well as vocational and technical training. The College also partners with local high schools in order to provide dual-enrollment courses for students who are often rural and wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.
The university was faced with the need to expand course offerings across all four of their sites, reduce travel time for professors and students, as well as expand dual enrollment programs.
Coastal Bend College addressed these challenges by implementing more video and collaboration technologies. The use of technologies like telepresence, the school can now reach more local high schools and offer college-level course to rural students who would otherwise not be able to access it. Not only has the technology offered additional distance-learning classes, but faculty is able to attend meetings, trainings and safety seminars virtually without the time and cost of travel.
“Thanks to the added videoconferencing capabilities, we are now able to realize our vision of a robust virtual learning program that serves the needs of all Coastal Bend stakeholders,” says Jennifer Keels, Director of IT services at Coastal Bend College. “Students benefit from more courses and scheduling options, faculty gains the ability to interact with students remotely, staff enjoys flexibility to complete training and safety obligations, and local youth gain access to advanced course material that would otherwise not have been available.”
How do you see dual enrollment and technology impacting higher education?
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