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Posted: Thursday Mar 1, 2012

March 1, 2012

As part of the early field experience curriculum at Saint Vincent College, students are taught how to deliver instruction online as well as participate in actual classroom opportunities at several schools in the region.

“The course is designed to acquaint our students with a variety of schooling opportunities in our area” said Dr. Veronica Ent, associate professor and chair of the education department. “As part of the curriculum, the students experience public rural, suburban and urban schools as well as private, charter and alternative education and now, with the addition of online pedagogy, they will also experience the nature of cyber education, too.”

This spring, students enrolled in the early field experience course are delivering online career workshops to students of the Dr. Robert Ketterer Charter School (RKCS). Eric Guldin, CEO and principal of RKCS, commented, “this is an excellent enrichment opportunity for our students to help them learn of potential careers that they can pursue upon leaving our school.”

Mr. Guldin and Brooke Perice, RKCS curriculum supervisor, have surveyed students’ career interests and partnered with Saint Vincent College to offer online, real-time workshops on the careers that are popular with their students. The most popular are oil and gas drilling, computer engineering and marketing. College students were asked to develop a workshop and deliver their session at a specified time.

“As the coordinator, I have learned quickly that college students are naturals at using the computer, and with some instruction about online delivery, they have really enjoyed this experience and continue to improve each time they work with a student online,” said David Gilbert, online instructional support coordinator in education.

“I am really surprised by the interactivity we can have using the computer,” said Melanie Fetzer of Allison Park, a freshman, early childhood education major. “The interactive part is much better than using Skype, because you have the polling opportunities in which you can immediately share results and change what you are teaching to help students learn.”

“I really think this experience will help me find a job,” added Megan Regula of Loyalhanna, a junior, early childhood education major, teaching about horse training to an RKCS student. “I am nervous about doing this, but I really enjoy it.”

The Saint Vincent College education department plans to offer similar online workshops such as the exploring careers series to other school districts. “We hope that other school districts will be interested in having an online series for their students,” said Dr. Ent. Some of the topics Dr. Ent hopes to add to online career education are improving soft skills, job finding techniques and internet etiquette and safety for minors.

“Since most schools are under pressure for academics and testing, we hope that having this outreach will address some of the areas that are hard to fit in during the school day,” Dr. Ent concluded.

The Education Department continues to offer one-to-one online tutoring for K-12 students and other services to offer experiences for pre-service teachers. For more information on this program and others, contact the education department, eduonline@email.stvincent.edu or 724 805-2943.


Photo: Melanie Fetzer of Allison Park, a freshman majoring in early childhood education, utilizes the online career training program. 


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