by Joe Wolfe
Within any institution, maximizing the amount of educational opportunity is ideal to any student who strives to make the most of his or her college experience. For those who value the convenience of online academia, it is particularly encouraging when the availability of new technology expands access to higher education. In maintaining pace with technological expansion, WVU at Parkersburg is in the final stages of producing The Virtual Community and Technical College.
The Virtual Community and Technical College’s primary goal is to use technology to expand access to higher education by connecting students and teachers from West Virginia Community and Technical Colleges, and to provide a forum where educational resources are shared.
The Community and Technical College System of West Virginia, essentially simplifying the burden of registering with other institutions for desired online courses offered elsewhere, will support the Virtual Community and Technical College.
Jessamine Wass, who is the Institutional Administrator on WVU's E-Campus at WVU at Parkersburg, and coordinator of VCTC, explains the distinction between taking a course elsewhere through the CTC, and taking a course through VCTC.
“If a student from Blueridge College wants to sign up for a course offered through the virtual CTC, they do not have to go through all the paperwork of registering with another college. With the virtual CTC, you are already at your home institution, your just signing up for it, and we’re offering it.”
Those familiar with taking courses offered via other institutions are already aware of the inconveniences of signing up, registering, and the additional paperwork that the process encompasses. The future compatibility of the VCTC will enable students elsewhere to take desired courses without the burden of being enrolled at separate institutions. This process will beneficially impact non-traditional students, students seeking early graduation, and students needing classes not offered through their school.
In understanding the functionality of Virtual CTC, it is important to state that this is a service made available through WVU at Parkersburg. “The other colleges will pay us a fee to manage and host available courses so their students can enroll, and they get the head count,” added Wass
From a financial perspective, this is a service that will maximize potential students’ options, while generating the best bang for everyone’s buck. Monetarily speaking, institutions could cut faculty spending on courses that yield minimal attendance. Wass again illustrates... “If you offer one course and five students from separate colleges fill it up, it is going to be more cost efficient then us paying one person to teach three students here.”