Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fairmont State is participating in a project that will provide free online courses to college and university students whose education has been interrupted by Hurricane Katrina.

The Sloan Consortium, an international consortium of colleges and universities committed to quality online education, is working with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on a project called the "Sloan Semester." Fairmont State University and Fairmont State Community & Technical College are two of more than 100 institutions participating in the nationwide effort.

"It is wonderful that we can use technology to aid the students affected by this disaster, and I appreciate the efforts of our faculty and staff to help make this happen," said Dr. Daniel J. Bradley, FSU President.

Approximately 25 Fairmont State faculty members offered to teach 40 different online courses. The Sloan Consortium sent each campus a list of courses that displaced students have requested. Based on this request, some of the courses that FS will be offering include, Art Appreciation, Educational Psychology, Principles of Marketing, Introduction to Financial Management and Written English I and II.

"When I received the e-mail from the SREB requesting participation in the Sloan Semester, I knew Fairmont State must participate," said Dr. Roxann Humbert, Director of Learning Technologies for FS. "What better way to help students displaced by Katrina, than doing what we do best: teach? Evidently the faculty of Fairmont State agreed. In fewer than 24 hours, 25 faculty offered to teach 40 different online courses in support of this effort. Fairmont State has made online learning a priority, and many faculty have benefited from this program's resources. Participating in the Sloan Semester is one way for the faculty to give back."

A total of about 400 online courses will be offered to students displaced from institutions closed due to damage from the hurricane in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Delgado Community College, Southeastern University-New Orleans, Loyola University-New Orleans, William Carey College, Dillard University, Charity School of Nursing, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, University of Southern Mississippi and Our Lady of Holy Cross College.

The accelerated, eight-week semester will begin at Fairmont on Oct. 17 and is intended to provide a wide range of courses to serve the learning needs of students at the community college, university and graduate level. The project goal is to accommodate at least 10,000 student enrollments.

For more information, visit www.sloansemester.org.

The FS community is also aiding hurricane victims in other ways:

* FSC&TC is exploring how it can help meet the training and education needs of the evacuees housed at Camp Dawson in Preston County.

* Members of the FS community are participating in Red Cross training to volunteer at Camp Dawson.

* FS will host a blood drive for the American Red Cross from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, in the Turley Center Ballroom. Monetary donations to the Red Cross will also be accepted on this date.