NPRC is often mischaracterized as online, virtual, or education by t.v. While NPRC may have a unique model, it is not online. There are roughly half a million people in NPRC’s service area, a region larger than the state of Connecticut, but the ability to have a lecture or structured presentation where everyone is participating from different places across the region is still there. It is no different than being in a classroom where everyone is physically in the same location. Our students are just in classrooms that are equipped with a large video monitor and camera to interact in real-time with their instructors and classmates.
Instructors may teach from a variety of places throughout our region, but they all teach at an NPRC classroom location. Most of the time instructors will have at least one student in the room where they are teaching, though not always. Full-time English faculty member, Ben Blood shares, “I don’t think that the delivery model changes the classroom dynamic so much… I’m still able to laugh and joke and talk and sort of having a classroom community and classroom environment that I do in a live classroom.”
Faculty members, like Ben, offer office hours via video conferencing for students who request additional time with instructors outside of class. Having this capability is a very important success strategy to engage with each student throughout the time of the courses. Blood often requires some video conferencing at the start of every term to help student’s feel comfortable with the technology.
He also shares that he sees a lot of diversity in NPRC’s classrooms because of this model. Having that diversity in the classroom is important and helpful for students who are in the enclave of their own communities to be able to see and communicate with their peers almost halfway across the state.
When people think about NPRC’s delivery model it gives them the illusion that it isn’t personal, but that’s not the case at all. Ally Pavlock, a former NPRC student, was asked about the interactions she’s had in the classroom setting. She shared that the interaction between students and professors aren’t as different as you’d think. The largest in-person class size she had was less than 10 people and the number of classrooms per class are limited to eight. Having smaller class sizes and other classrooms on the screen help to personalize the learning more. Instructors and classmates would ask questions, and sometimes we had projects with people from other places like Bradford or in Potter County. Ally expresses that, “The personal touch of NPRC is just, you can’t beat it. You cannot beat the personal connections. Anyone there is willing to help you out with anything you need.”