Eastern receives $450,000 USDA grant to provide new distance learning equipment to area high schools
WILBURTON, OK (Jan. 14, 2015) – Eastern Oklahoma State College recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides new distance learning equipment to the college and three area high schools.
Eastern received a $455,475 USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant to purchase videoconferencing equipment and software for the college’s McAlester campus, as well as Talihina, Quinton and Hartshorne High Schools.
“We applaud the USDA for investing in education and technology for students in rural, southeast Oklahoma,” said Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith. “Distance learning provides students with a convenient avenue to complete college courses without leaving their high school. We’re excited for the educational opportunities this equipment will provide for students in Talihina, Quinton and Hartshorne.”
Each high school received a portable teleconferencing unit, software and professional installation services worth $11,615. The interactive television (ITV) equipment will give students virtual access to classes taught from Eastern’s campuses in Wilburton and McAlester. ITV courses are structured like traditional courses except students view the class on TV monitors. Students and instructors are able to interact throughout the class although they are in different locations.
“The ITV class brings the college to us,” said Lexus Sewell, a student at Hartshorne High School. “I think it is just as effective as being in a class on campus.”
Through Oklahoma’s concurrent enrollment program, qualified juniors and seniors can take college-level courses and earn college credit while still in high school. High school seniors can take up to 18 credit hours tuition free and are only responsible for fees and books.
“I think this prepares students for college,” said Hartshorne ITV supervisor Melinda Morgan. “It gives them an idea of what a college class is really like.”
For more information about Eastern’s concurrent enrollment program, visit eosc.edu/chaps or call 918-465-1810 in Wilburton and 918-302-3603 in McAlester.
Hartshorne High School ITV supervisor Melinda Morgan (center) gathers with students (left to right) Colton Tubbs, Caleb Holt, Braxton Curliss and Lexus Sewell in front of the school’s new distance learning equipment provided by Eastern Oklahoma State College through a USDA grant.