Earth Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen is, for the first time,
dipping its toes into the world of online classes.
The school is launching this summer what it says is a pilot
program to hold hybrid classes, in which students will put in a
small amount of time in class and the rest online.
This is to gauge how online classes will work for students whom
officials say arent always set up for online college classes.
School officials say that while the move was brought on by demand
from students and a desire to grow, they plan to jump slowly into
Traditionally many of our students have been tactile learners,
which means they do best in the classroom setting, said Sheila
Michaels, the schools interim academic dean and an English
faculty member who will teach one of the classes.
Michaels also said the demographic of students attending the
relatively new college, which is only 15 years old, is one that
may not have the means at home to go online.
Many of them dont have access to computers off campus
or have Internet. They need to be on campus anyway, so this is looking
beyond our community to see what we can do to grow, Michaels
said. We know that relatively speaking, were behind
the game, but were also moving forward, recognizing that some
of our learners are asking for that.
The two online classes students can register for this summer,
which start May 19, are Creative Writing and Intro to Humanities
-- both liberal arts classes that a variety of students can use
for their degrees or professional development.
The two hybrid summer classes, which hold 22 seats each, also
will be offered in the fall, and if all goes well, the school plans
to slowly expand its online vision into other programs.
Michaels said the idea is not just to give existing WETCC students
an online opportunity, but also to capture those in outlying areas
who either wouldnt otherwise go to college or are looking
for online classes elsewhere.
Although the institution is a tribal college, it is also a community
college that is open to anybody.
So if somebody is going to another college but could use
these particular classes, they can take them from us, said
Michaels, who added that the school is affordable, accredited and
its courses are transferable.