MARCH 10, 2004

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OSU-Oklahoma City receives $1.8 Million education grant

OSU-Oklahoma City recently received a $1.8 million Title III grant from the U.S Department of Education aimed at improving student success and creating more educational opportunities.

"Our mission at OSU-OKC is to provide an education that prepares our students to live and work together in an increasingly technological society," said OSU-OKC President Jerry Carroll. "This grant allows us to further enhance student success and retention, and continue to expand the use of technology in our classrooms."

Primary focus of the grant is on the development of Learning Communities which will serve as a unique network of support and supplemental instruction. Students sharing at least two specific classes will be grouped together to form a Learning Community.

Informal learning communities already exist in OSU-OKC programs such as nurse science and fire technology; this grant will further develop the process and extend it throughout the curriculum.

"In addition to the Learning Communities, this grant will allow our campus to provide enhanced communication between faculty and students and additional technical support for faculty," said Larry Edwards, vice president of academic affairs.

Another area of focus, the "Faculty/Staff Innovation Center," serves as an avenue for investigation, training and trial of innovative teaching and learning strategies. This center will advance faculty and staff development by integrating media-assisted and computer-assisted instruction with other technologies into course curriculum.

An online "Student Response System" will also be part of the Title III project. The system will monitor student progress toward educational goals and degree completion, and observe retention, grade point averages and student satisfaction. SRS includes the use of the Blackboard Learning System and a student e-mail system, allowing students to get fast access to course materials and assistance from their professors.

Another innovation made possible through the grant is creation of three "smart" classrooms equipped with smart boards – interactive, electronic whiteboards – a teaching/learning technology that allows teachers to dramatically enhance conventional lesson plans. Each of these smart classrooms will also include a wide variety of traditional technologies, from VCRs to distance learning, providing a selection of teaching and learning tools.

The grant money, to be awarded over the next five years, provides project staff, including new Title III Director Pam Caldwell.

"Smart classrooms test and modify the instructional technology teaching strategies learned through the Faculty/Staff Innovation Center," said Caldwell. "The Center will encourage collaborative learning within the Learning Community environment for both faculty and students."

Caldwell, who has been an educator for more than 25 years, received a bachelor of science in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Oklahoma State University.

As the Title III director, she will be responsible for communicating project objectives to all constituents of OSU-OKC, coordinating and evaluating program activities and monitoring the completion of project objectives. She will also recruit and coordinate the work of key personnel and serve as a liaison between project activity and respective faculty.

OSU-Oklahoma City is a member of the Oklahoma State University System and is a North Central Association accredited two-year institution..

Contact: Gayle Berry, 1-405-945-3317