Area high school students earn college credit with video distance learning

Students at 10 Cincinnati area high schools are earning college credit through a new dual enrollment program at the University of Cincinnati's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

It's the first step in a wider plan that will allow incoming UC engineering majors to complete their freshmen year of college before high school graduation.

The dual credit program grew out of a longer collaboration between CEAS and area schools that started in 2007. That's when CEAS began offering an introduction to engineering course to high school seniors. The course is offered through an educational video platform called Mediasite, which is designed specifically for educational use.

That collaboration started with four schools—Harrison, Mother of Mercy, Mt. Notre Dame and Princeton high schools—and now more than 13 participate (howerver, not all offer the dual credit option). The 2012-2013 school year was the first that students could take courses for credit at UC, says College of Engineering Academic Director Eugene Rutz.

Not all students take the class for dual credit, but out of the 500 who did, about 140 of them earned credit, Rutz says.

UC faculty and the high school teachers work together to deliver the course. UC provides lessons via videos, which students can watch from home. In the classroom, high school teachers assign projects that require students to find solutions to questions by creating an engineering-based solution that builds on what they learn in the videos.

"They build a prototype for the solution, test it, report it and defend," says Rutz. "There's a verbal presentation of it as well."

During the school year, students complete several projects—some could take a week, some could take a month. The focus is on applied learning.

"This is a course that helps students see and appreciate why they learn math and science," Rutz says. "They are also learning critical thinking, and that there are multiple ways to solve problems."

CEAS plans to add more high schools to the program next year, and add an additional engineering course, says Rutz.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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