POCATELLO – High school students in Blackfoot, Fort Hall, Malad and Rockland can now take Idaho State University courses at their own high schools, thanks to new distance learning classrooms.
The classrooms, outfitted with innovative videoconferencing technology, will allow students in rural areas to participate in college courses, from college professors, with other college students. The technology will provide a more engaging learning environment as high school students earn college credits and prepare for further education.
“It ties our best and brightest to an institution in-state, and then, from there, to internships in-state, and then, from there, back to our communities in-state,” said Mike Corbett, Malad High School principal. "It keeps our best and brightest here, where we can grow our communities and benefit the lives of more than just a few."
High school students who live near Idaho State have been able to enroll in on-campus dual enrollment courses since 2017. But that opportunity hasn’t been available to students in more rural communities — until now.
Idaho State has partnered with Rockland-based Direct Communications and Albion-based ATC Communications to provide Southeast Idaho high schools with the technology and internet access they need 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.
“For many residents of the Rockland Valley, a college education seems like a pipe dream,” said KaLee Ralphs, marketing manager for Direct Communications. “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.”
Idaho State debuted the classrooms at four open houses this semester, hosted at Malad High School, Rockland High School, Shoshone-Bannock Junior/Senior High School and the ISU Blackfoot Outreach Center.
Students at all four locations are already enrolled in dual enrollment courses, using the classrooms’ technology to connect with their instructors and peers.
“Our students in our communities deserve the best in learning technology,” said Kyle Redman, director of sales for ATC Communications. “This type of technology will give our students the opportunity to enhance their educational careers and better their lives. Any time we can impact our communities in a positive way, we are all for it!”