New River Community And Technical College ORU Classes Start This Fall

Marlinton, WV – Students graduating from Pocahontas County High School this spring will have an opportunity that their predecessors didn’t – the chance to take introductory college classes without leaving the county. Roger Griffith, Dean of the Greenbrier Campus of New River Community and Technical College explains.

“The classes this fall will be interactive video” he says, “they’ll be based through the IVN carrels that have been designed and are being built currently. The classes will range from general ed; there’ll also be accounting, business management, legal assisting, the full range of general ed classes that will build onto any degree.”

Griffith is talking about the initial pilot program for the One Room University project, a partnership of City National Bank, the Pocahontas County Commission and New River Community and Technical College. Along with the general education classes, New River will also offer a few upper level classes.

“One thing about doing it in that manner, not only do you have entry level freshman that might be able to take advantage of it, but there’s a number of people who have already gotten some higher education either through New River or one of the surrounding colleges; this gives them the opportunity to take the next level courses here at home instead of having to drive to do so” says Griffith.

And like the classes offered at New Rivers other campuses, these classes will transfer to other institutions.

“One thing about the core general education classes, there’s a program called the Core Transfer Agreement that is for all instate colleges in West Virginia, both public and private” says Griffith. “So English 101, if you take it through New River will count at WVU for the same program, or Marshall or Concord. The same thing with College Algebra, Geography, History, those type of things; so they definitely do transfer.”

The ORU will be housed in the upper floor of City National Bank in Marlinton. Students will use the interactive video carrels to access classes via a network to be set up by New River. Griffith says it represents a sizeable investment by the college.

“Long term, we’ll be paying for the network system” he says. “Just as an example, the switch that will go into this area for the computers will be about $7000.00. We’ll be providing some of the administrative costs, all the academic costs for the courses, the instruction; we’ll be providing some computers. New Rivers commitment to this project, either direct expense or in-kind services will probably be between 30 and 40 thousand dollars in the initial year.”

Griffith says if successful, the pilot project will evolve into a more substantial program.

“Once we’ve established the feasibility of the project, which is over the next two years, we can start layering complete Associate Degree programs” he says. “But that requires Higher Learning Commission accreditation and approval, and if it’s successful, we’ll take that next step to do that. The other thing is we have a number of Two Plus Two arrangements with four year institutions. It might be possible that we negotiate with the four year institutions [that] they could help deliver those programs here as well.”

Prices for the IVN classes are expected to be similar to those offered on New Rivers’ other campuses. The One Room University pilot project is scheduled to begin with the Fall 2011 semester.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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