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Hudson Valley Community College Video Technology Brings Higher Education to Local High Schools

When you think of a community college classroom, you might not picture Dr. Dianne Zielinski’s General Psychology class that meets mornings in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center.

Joining Zielinski via videoconferencing three times a week are high school students from around the state – some from school districts so small and far afield that many in the Capital Region might not have heard of them. Milford High School near Cooperstown is represented and Hancock and Madison high schools in the Catskills, as well.

Students in these smaller school districts are taking advantage of videoconferencing technology that allows them to take college-level courses that otherwise would not be available to their school. A recent agreement between the college and Otsego Northern Catskills (ONC) BOCES has helped steadily grow the number of high school students taking courses via videoconferencing through Hudson Valley.

“In most cases, students in these smaller school districts wouldn’t have access to these courses,” said College in the High School Director Suzanne Brownrigg. “We’ve been working with ONC BOCES for the past three years and the number of high school students taking courses through interactive videoconferencing has tripled during that time.”

In late February, students from Milford and Stillwater High School, which also has students in the videoconferenced courses, came to the campus to meet their instructor face-to-face and also visit the Marvin Library, where Professor Bob Matthews helped them with an assignment on using library resources.

Zieliniski said she encourages all of her high schools to visit the Hudson Valley campus during the semester. The visit serves not only an academic purpose but also exposes their students to Hudson Valley as a potential college choice. Students can receive their college ID, visit with Admissions representatives and tour the campus.

Brownrigg said the college is working with 18 high schools on a regular basis to offer these courses. Students in smaller school districts are generally looking to take Intermediate Algebra, Sociology, General Psychology, Economics and Business Law courses, she said, which can transfer directly to Hudson Valley or many other colleges and universities.

Stillwater High School senior Ian Cepiel has taken three Hudson Valley courses through videoconferencing. “The (courses) have given me an idea of what a college-level course is like,” he said. “I have the feel for college before actually getting there.” All of the courses will transfer when he attends SUNY Oneonta next year.

The partnership with ONC BOCES began in the fall of 2012 with eight schools participating, and that number has more than doubled over the past three years. Currently, 179 high school students from 17 different districts are participating in the classes. These students are gaining access to courses their schools can’t deliver otherwise.

“Because they are so small, many of our districts just don’t have the resources to offer these courses on their own,” said Tami Fancher, the distance learning coordinator for ONC BOCES. “Having these courses offered through Hudson Valley allows our students to be competitive with students in urban or suburban districts.”

New York State School Districts Linked to Hudson Valley Through Videoconferencing

  • Andes
  • Averill Park
  • Charlotte Valley
  • Edmeston
  • Gilboa-Conesville
  • Hancock
  • Hartford
  • Hoosic Valley
  • Madison
  • Maple Hill
  • Margaretville
  • Milford
  • Moriah
  • Morris
  • North Warren
  • Roscoe
  • Stillwater
  • South Kortright
  • Stamford
  • Windham
  • Worcester