Nearly $500,000 grant set to expand opportunities for adult learners across West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program is positioned to expand online learning opportunities for adults in West Virginia seeking to complete a Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree. Through the $499,991 grant, which was awarded to the West Virginia Network (WVNET), students will be able to participate in live video classes from the convenience of their laptop or tablet using a web conferencing system.

“We have placed an increased emphasis in West Virginia on helping adult learners complete postsecondary education,” said Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. “Nearly 20 percent of adults in West Virginia have some college credits but no degree. There can be an array of roadblocks for adult students, but with flexible options through distance learning, we can help them succeed.”

Currently, RBA students can complete online components of a course at a time and place of their choosing, in addition to attending classes in person. Through this grant, the West Virginia Remote Online Collaborative Knowledge System (WVROCKS) will launch a hybrid model for distance education by including synchronous video classes – making courses that require labs or discussion available online and accessible across the state.

WVROCKS, an initiative of the Commission, is a statewide portal designed to facilitate the completion of the RBA degree, providing students with flexible options for enrolling in online, condensed, upper-division courses through the state’s public institutions.