SVCC receives funding for distance learning equipment
Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2018
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) a grant to fund the purchase and deployment of equipment that will improve access to education for people residing in the rural areas of south-central Virginia. The college received the announcement in early November and is already taking steps to prepare 91 classrooms for distance learning activities at sites in five counties. The sites include the college’s two main campuses and four off-campus centers strategically located to serve students across SVCC’s ten-county region, the largest community college jurisdiction in Virginia.
Chad Wollenberg, Chief Information Officer at SVCC explains, “We are constantly looking at innovative ways to ensure service to every nook of our 4,200-square mile service area. We are very excited because this grant will allow us to do video streaming from every classroom and be flexible in our delivery methods to our student population.”
The project, Southside Learning Connections, will deploy high-definition cameras and room microphones in almost every classroom at SVCC. According to Wollenberg, “This helps us deliver classes to our other sites, to our partner schools, and potentially to students anywhere in the world.”
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Grant funding totaling $168,000 will enable the purchase of equipment for synchronous and asynchronous distance education.
In a letter of support, Elizabeth Green, State Director of USDA’s Rural Development in Virginia, wrote that Southside Learning Connections aligns with her office’s Strategic Plan for Virginia. She identified the effort as an “important initiative,” and noted her “strong support for this project that will enhance the educational opportunities across areas of Virginia.”
“SVCC is proud to partner with USDA to promote education throughout our service area,” commented Dr. Al Roberts, College President. “Attracting new business to our region and restoring its economic vitality hinges on the ability to enlarge the pipeline for education and job training. This project increases our capacity to offer students flexible distance learning options so that they can embark on meaningful career pathways.”