K-12 schools nationwide have been rolling out new distancing learning technologies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, for students at Rockland High School, in Rockland, Idaho, the latest innovation in distance learning looks a little different.

A partnership between Rockland High School and Idaho State University has led to a new Distance Learning Classroom. The new classroom will allow Rockland students to enroll in courses taught on the Idaho State campus.

The classroom is outfitted with the technology and internet access needed to “facilitate remote, real-time learning. Students can now interact with their instructor during class, engage in more active discussions, and experience college-level education firsthand,” the school said. Since 2017, Idaho State University has had high schools taking college courses for credit. However, that opportunity was previously only available to students that lived near the university. Now, students living in rural communities can participate as well.

“Students can participate in college courses, from college professors, with other college students, right from their own Distance Learning Classroom,” said Holly Kartchner, director of outreach and retention at Idaho State’s College of Arts and Letters. “Now, education is even more accessible to students at rural high schools.”

The technology and internet access in the classroom was sponsored by Direct Communications, a Rockland, Idaho-based internet service provider.

“We are proud to team up with Rockland School and Idaho State University in order to help provide the technology necessary to open the door for opportunities for these students to achieve their educational dreams,” said KaLee Ralphs, marketing manager for Direct Communications. “For many residents of the Rockland Valley, a college education seems like a pipe dream. With access to the best technology available, students will get a head start on their college education and one step closer to achieving their professional goals.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs