The Rural Development Distance Learning Grant was one of 78 awarded in 31 states totaling $22.3 million. Only three were awarded in Utah, two to Utah Valley State College and one to CEU-SJC.
Currently, the school’s distance education program serves Family Learning Centers at Montezuma Creek, Monticello, and Monument Valley, Utah. Classes are also transmitted to multiple sites in Arizona and Colorado.
The grant allows program expansion to other remote sites in Dove Creek, Colorado and at health care facilities of the Utah Navajo Health System in Blanding, Navajo Mountain, Monument Valley, and Montezuma Creek, Utah.
SJC fall semester enrollment is 594 students, a 25 percent increase in headcount over last year with almost half coming from the distance learning sites.
Heather Young, CEU-SJC IT/distance learning supervisor, headed the team who wrote the winning proposal. She says that the grant will open new doors to students living in remote sites without access to college-level courses. “CEU-SJC is the mouse that roars; we may be small but we are accomplishing great things for residents of the Four Corner region. New technologies erase artificial boundaries and create dynamic environments for even the most remote student. It can be daunting but the opportunities that technology provides are incredible,” Young said.
In addition, the grant pays for new digital equipment to handle scheduling, transmission of classes, tutoring programs, and a course archival system that allows students to download video streams of a missed class on their home computers.
All of the distance learning will be college-level classes prepared and delivered at CEU-SJC and presented either live or on demand at the six sites.
Included in the course offerings are classes in math, algebra, reading, writing, chemistry, biology, nutrition, and nursing. All faculty teaching distance learning courses must complete a 20-hour training and certification process. CEU-SJC has used distance education technology since 1980 and averages 20-25 distance learning classes each semester.