One Room University expands options in Marlinton
The One Room University is only in its second semester of existence, but it's already making a difference in the lives of area students.
"From our first semester, we had students that started here and took some of their core courses, then went on to other schools," said ORU supervisor Elaine Diller. "I know two young ladies that moved to Lewisburg to continue. One is going on to Dabney Lancaster [Community College] for nursing after one more semester at New River, and the other is enrolled full-time in Lewisburg and she loves it. We have another young man that went on to Fairmont. So it's helping."
The ORU is the result of a unique partnership between New River Community and Technical College, City National Bank and the Pocahontas County Commission.
Christy Broce, of Dunmore, enrolled this semester at the ORU. She is pursuing a four-year elementary education degree and said she appreciates what the ORU offers.
"I love it, it's amazing," said Broce. "I love being able to come here. I'm always here on Fridays. It's my no-class day but I come and do my homework, it's nice and quiet. Elaine is really helpful, anything you need."
On days when Broce's classes are at ORU, she has to drive only 35 minutes, as opposed to two hours when her classes are held in Lewisburg.
"I'm full-time, sixteen credit hours. I do three of my classes here in Marlinton and then Monday and Wednesday I have to travel to Lewisburg to the campus there," said Broce. "I wish I could get all my classes here in Marlinton. It's such a convenience."
Much of the coursework at ORU is via Interactive Video Networking. Teachers post assignments and students submit their coursework online.
"It's not that different, you'd be surprised," said Broce. "I have a couple classes with real, live teachers and it's not that different."
New River is constantly exploring other potential fields of study for local students. New River recently asked ORU to host a public meeting on Tuesday, February 28, at 6 p.m. to see if there is enough interest in Pocahontas County to hold a paramedic class at the ORU.
"All the letters have gone out to the fire chiefs and EMS people," said Diller. "It's an intensive one year program. We're looking for anyone that is interested."
A recent meeting with New River and representatives from Snowshoe looked at ways to expand their educational partnership with the ORU.
"Snowshoe employees can enroll as students, and New River partners with Snowshoe to reduce the tuition," said Diller. "We had one student from Snowshoe last year; she took an accounting class. We had a meeting recently to see how we can help get the information out to anyone interested up there."
This summer the ORU will host another new program through New River.
"It's called 'Prep for Success.' This year it's going to be located here," said Diller. "It's a free program for at-risk students who are interested in college; it's like the first step for them."
With all the new programs offered at the ORU, the success of the institute will be based on participation, according to Diller.
"I certainly feel like it's been a success, especially the students that have gotten a start here," she said. "I hear comments from the community saying it's one of the best things to happen in town. I think that the more people understand what we can do, the more successful it will be. It's really about enrollment. The more students we have, that's what is going to keep it going. If you have any interest at all, come see us."
Anyone interested in learning more about the One Room University can contact Elaine Diller at email@example.com