Offering More Classes Through Distance Learning

Canton, IL – Spoon River College hopes to boost enrollment through distance learning.

President Robert Ritschel says classes will be taught with an interactive video system at the Macomb and Canton campuses. This will allow students in Rushville and Havana will be able to see and participate in the classes.

"The instructor could have as many as 10 or 15 students in front of them in the classroom and still be able to interface with these other sites at distance locations at the same time," says Ritschel. "This allows us to have classes with historically low enrollments and offer two courses at one time."

"Historically if we offered a class at Rushville that didn't have sufficient enrollment for that class we'd have to cancel," says Ritschel. "That student would either have to drive up to another campus or perhaps even go to another community college."

Ritschel says classes using the interactive video system will likely be offered in the spring. "We might be able to offer short term classes of 8 weeks or even seminars throughout the fall," says Ritschel.

Dr. Ritschel says some of the classes that will most likely be offered using the system include sociology, anything in the social sciences, and communication. "It's difficult to do hands on things that require laboratories," says Ritschel.

The college received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to pay for the distance learning system. Its cost is $339,000.