The Lay of the Land Demographics of Pocahontas County 941 square miles 9,000 residents Most rural county east of the Mississippi More than 1,000,000 visitors come to the county every year Little or no true broadband internet in the county. No cellphone service in the county Home to the National Radio Observatory Large ski resorts in area
The Questions Are we serving the area with our current assets and/or are those assets just not being effective? Could on-line education be the answer to the issue, with more convenience for the students and little or no additional cost to the institution? If we decide that a physical presence is needed, how, where, why, and can we afford it? Can we do this alone or are there valuable partners that we can bring to the table who can assist with the project? Once started, how do we sustain the project? The first questions we should have asked, but didn’t until the project, was well underway, what is the problem, what is causing the problem, and what action will correct the problem.
The Community “The Why” What did they want and how did we determine what they wanted? Surveys Public Meetings Targeted Meetings Using “Locals” to open the doors
The “What” Higher education as part of the community A physical presence Local people serving local people All demographics served Start with general education Oh, by the way we would like some programs Lives changed
The Partners “The Who” New River Community and Technical College Pocahontas County Commission City National Bank
“ The Where” The second floor of the City National Bank Building Out of the flood zone Fifty yards from the main downlink for Frontier Free space for two years
“ The How” Two full-time staff More than 90 hours of Interactive video courses 5-10 live courses per semester with a concentration in Developmental Education Testing, proctoring, and tutoring services Video phone access for student services True high speed internet hub which allows students access to on-line education courses Access to our partner institutions, Concord, Bluefield State, etc. Regular visits from Greenbrier Valley Campus student services personnel Concentrated efforts to link in with the county high school
“ The Something Special” Up to ten individual Life-size Stations Students can take any course offering in the Interactive Video schedule Multiple courses going on at the same time in the same room Use of headsets and laptop computers to join the courses
“As We Speak ” Project is in its third year More than fifty students take direct courses at the location Dozens of more students use the services at the location, including the high speed internet County Commission support remains strong, with current budget allocation of more than $52,000. City National Bank remains committed to the project and is willing to model the project in other areas within the service region.
“Lessons Learned ” Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. Community partners can be leaders as well. Technology can be limited no matter what you may think. Move at your pace, but understand no one else may want to! You told me to do it! Leaders want to deal with leaders. Find the right people for the right jobs at the right time. Some of the most difficult battles come from within and not from outsiders Don’t count on the snow!