Craven Community College is transforming hands-on, career-oriented courses into hybrid classes that can be taken online, with lab time as part of the mix to ensure the necessary hands-on skills are provided to students. As part of the North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, Craven is developing high-tech, mobile courses that displaced workers and others can take online where they live.
By doing so, workers can develop the skills needed for employment and high-quality jobs in growing advanced manufacturing fields such as computer-integrated machining and composites.
In addition to new staff positions, Craven's $1.6 million share of the three-year federal grant has allowed the college to purchase new, state-of-the-art equipment for use in advanced manufacturing programs. This equipment matches what is found in industry. Hybrid classes, where the lab component can be done in a short period, are being developed.
A focus at Craven will be its Composites program. Instructors are working with an Instructional Designer to break down courses into manageable web-based modules that can be developed into courses and posted on iTunes U.
By using video, photos and other techniques, the course content will be brought to life and made user-friendly for online students. Lab components of the courses will require students to come to Craven or another school. However, the college is looking at ways to make those visits short and convenient, while still meeting the hands-on components needed to demonstrate competence in an industry setting.
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