Penn State Intercom......August 8, 2002

Grant will fund 'eLearning Center'

Construction-industry employees soon will be able to work full time at their jobs while pursuing a bachelor's degree in residential construction technology and management at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The major will be offered in a distance-learning format by Penn College's School of Construction and Design Technologies, courtesy of a Link-to-Learn Higher Education Technology Grant from the state Department of Education and the generosity of a business partner.

The $234,679 grant will enable the Office of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning to establish an "eLearning Center" that will help the college reach a wider continuing-education student market. The college, with help from business partner Centex Homes, will provide $88,002 in matching funds. Centex Homes has agreed to provide $34,000 in services and an outright gift of $10,000, as well as curriculum materials to assist in the development and implementation of the core courses.

The partnership with Centex developed out of the School of Construction and Design Technologies' long association with the Pennsylvania Builders Association and its members.

Tom Gregory, dean of the School of Construction and Design Technologies, said the college anticipates that many people in the construction industry -- including students who earned their associate degrees at Penn College -- will take advantage of the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree while working full-time in the construction industry.

Eight faculty members will begin developing the courses this summer and continue through the 2002-03 academic year. The faculty also will receive basic and advanced technology-skills training.

It is expected that 300 students and 100 continuing-education clients will benefit from the services provided by the grant during the funding period. Portable computer classrooms will allow the college to demonstrate and deliver training modules to continuing-education client organizations in Central Pennsylvania and the Northern Tier counties.