Mesalands is one of six colleges in the state of New Mexico that was selected by the New Mexico Higher Education Department to participate in a Distance Education Learning Technology pilot project, said Amber McClure, Director of Educational Services at Mesalands.
Mesalands will receive the $15,000 for three years, to conduct the research and to develop this project.
"The pilot project will give Mesalands the opportunity to offer online (GED) courses," McClure said.
McClure said the course will be available to 50 people in Quay, Harding, and Union counties. There are currently no Adult Basic Education (ABE) services provided in Harding County.
“There is definitely a need for this program when there are 400,000 people in New Mexico that need ABE services and out of those people, 90 percent function below an eighth grade level,” McClure said. “It’s in our best interest to get out and help these people.”
McClure said the GED courses offered at Mesalands or through this new pilot distance education program are free for to the persons that enroll.
"There is a $50 charge when they take GED exam, which is proctored. " McClure said. "However the actual program is free. They will also have access to our computer lab and any resources that we have."
Students participating in this program are required to complete 12 face-to-face contact hours with McClure that will include assessments, workshops, and tutoring.
McClure said she will be traveling to meet with these students at local libraries or community centers in Logan, Roy, Mosquero and San Jon for these contact hours and then will stay in contact with students by various other methods during the rest of the program. She said Mesalands has an instructor in Clayton that will be teaching face-to-face GED classes.
The students that are already enrolled in the GED program at Mesalands are covered by existing money, McClure said. She said the new federal money will be used to cover the cost of the 50 new students.
"We will looking to launch by Jan. 17, 2010, at the start of the new semester," McClure said "But we need to start the intake process now. People can contact the college for information."
McClure said she is also going to do out reach in the communities to let people know that this project is available.
"This project will benefit students regionally and statewide," McClure said.
Additional information about Adult Basic Education services at Mesalands can be obtained at 911 South Tenth Street in Tucumcari, or at (575) 461-4413, or on the Web at www.mesalands.edu.