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BPCC program goes viral


College’s Open Campus program spreads to other countries

BPCC’s Open Campus™ has gone viral.

The free online non-credit courses have been accessed in 105 countries, most recently being Belarus and the Cayman Islands, since its launch a year and a half ago. In that time, Open Campus has reached half a million viewing minutes from its nine course offering.

Allison Martin, Director of Institutional Effectiveness Initiatives at Bossier Parish Community College, said those figures mean they are “pretty viral.”

“It is incredible to be on six continents and to have BPCC’s presence in so many lives,” Martin said. “They may never know our names, but we’re helping so many people.”

BPCC’s Open Campus™ is the community college’s online series of preparatory courses that offer underprepared students a user-friendly, video-lecture based pathway to success in math, English, science, college success skills, and reading comprehension. Open Campus™ courses are designed to prepare individuals for college-level placement testing, to enhance students’ study and practice sessions, or to help employees brush up on basic professional skills.

Martin said Open Campus™ provides students 24/7 access to material on a forum for learning on demand.

“People really do want to learn, but they have ways they want to learn that don’t often fit the mold of a traditional student,” Martin explained. “This is help on demand. Students like to work through it at their own pace and in a way they want to move through it. They don’t want to be forced to finish the first task before completing the second or third. We know that’s how they work in real life and are mimicking that in these courses.”

Open Campus™ courses are self-contained, meaning there is no interaction required between the student and instructor. Martin said the instructors are the “most dynamic, sought after” at the community college.

Open Campus™ courses include basic math, introductory algebra, intermediate algebra, college algebra, fundamentals of grammar, fundamentals of writing, reading comprehension, college success skills course and introductory science. Martin said math is “by far” the most utilized courses.

“They are the most accessed,” she said. “Within that, the most accessed math course is introductory algebra. It’s a high school level course that correlates with the information we’ve gathered as being a refresher course for many students. Basic Mathematics is also popular, but people tend to move through that quickly.”

The initial goal of Open Campus™ was to provide anyone, anywhere access to quality, preparatory instruction, without cost or obligation. Martin said they have successfully done that and are preparing to take it further in the future.

“We’re moving in a way we didn’t anticipate in the beginning,” Martin said. “Many students are tapping in to spot study or to help them transition through difficult portions of their courses. We want to help them work through that in a proven forum – these video courses.”

Martin added that they are in the process of adding a soft skills course, which will essentially bridge students and a potential employer through proper communication skills in their designated work field.

The Open Campus™ design is tailored for user-friendliness. Student sign-up is easy, and, once enrolled, students can log-in through popular social media sites. Each learning module contains at least one lecture video, printable handout, and multiple-choice, self-graded quiz. Students may access any lecture, handout or quiz as many times as they wish and in any order they choose.

“It’s exciting to see how things in education have evolved,” Martin said. “I’m excited that this seemingly small corner of the world has really pushed to the front in providing access in a very simplistic way, yet a very successful way.”

For more information, visit the Bossier Parish Community College website at www.bpcc.edu

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.