Expanding online options could prevent some courses from being cancelled, officials said.

For students taking courses at the various campuses that make up Western Nevada College, commuting to and from class can be a two and a half hour ordeal. The mountainous drive can be a particular burden on those students already struggling to balance their school schedule with family and work obligations.

Western Nevada College is experimenting this fall with a new way for its students to learn: if a student’s schedule is not flexible enough, then maybe the class itself can be.

Called “flex classes,” the format consists of 15 courses that are both face to face and online. The courses, ranging from bookkeeping to introduction to criminal justice, will be taught at three of the college’s campuses, while also broadcast live online and archived for later viewing.

“It’s about being more responsive, and better serving the rural student,” said Clarence Maise, the college’s distance education coordinator.

While not an entirely new concept, a flexible classroom has not been tried at Western Nevada before. The college had used an interactive video system to broadcast lectures from its main campuses to its rural centers, Maise said, but the method still created issues for rural students with busy schedules as they were required to be at a specific site at a specific time.

See Page 2 for just how flexible the new format can be. 


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