WVU Parkersburg reaches Ritchie and Roane Counties via video conference technology

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In Fall 2013, West Virginia University at Parkersburg partnered with Ritchie County High School to begin offering select courses to the school’s juniors and seniors using video conferencing technology. This semester, the college is offering a course to Roane County High School students.

“We are very interested in cost effective and accessible outreach opportunities to our secondary school students who want to take college courses,” said Dr. Rhonda Tracy, senior vice president for academic affairs at WVU Parkersburg.

In Fall 2013, instructor Karen Noel broadcasted Math 126 three times per week to 13 juniors and seniors at Ritchie County High School. This semester, Ken Cornwell is instructing Sociology 101 to 24 students at Roane County High School.

To deliver the courses, WVU Parkersburg’s Information Technology (IT) office set up an automatic connection with the partnering counties and ensured that the instructors were prepared with the necessary training and camera presets. Students can view the instructor’s classroom via a large flat screen television.

For the college algebra course, IT integrated a digital document camera into the suite for live problem solving and made it possible to display a calculator app in the instruction as well. These customized solutions allowed Noel to maintain a strict focus on the students’ learning without technology issues getting in the way.

The program has been very successful so far, and WVU Parkersburg hopes to expand into Wirt County in the future.

“The use of point-to-point videoconferencing affords both opportunity and value,” said Tracy. “We plan to continue to explore this mode of delivery and will be constantly monitoring its effectiveness.”

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