Imagine roughing through the countless essays and projects that resulted in numerous hours of missed sleep, only for it to eventually become a mountain of student debt. A potential remedy to this dilemma has been proposed and this year, La Plata High School was chosen to be the guinea pig. The College of Southern Maryland is allowing students getting prepared for college to take a class via telepresence to count as a credit, possibly decreasing the inevitable dues that most college students have to overcome.
Many La Plata Warriors of the junior and senior class have recently had the opportunity to take a LAN 1089 Popular Culture class under the instruction of David Robinson and will be taking another class in the spring. Students such as senior Meagan Campbell saw the class as “a unique and interesting experience learning from a teacher that is in a different room than you.” Campbell also notes the advantages of “graduating with a couple college credits already underneath our belts, so we have fewer classes we need to take and pay full price for in college.”
Although the class was primarily well-received by students and staff, a potential issue of the program is the potential bridge between the teacher and the students miles away, but Ms. Campbell, the LPHS career counselor assures that “the class is interacting similar to that of a normal college campus.” The telepresence room is equipped with a camera with screens showing the teacher and the class at CSM while there was a camera pointed at the students on La Plata’s campus. A disconnect was bridged with the aid of technology, allowing for a deeper immersion to the college community despite remaining on La Plata’s grounds.
This opportunity, however, is only a stepping stone for upcoming possibilities in the nearby high schools and could perhaps even branch off to the other schools in the neighboring counties such as Calvert and St. Mary’s. Already existing programs such as Dual Enrollment, where a class taken here at La Plata can count for a college credit, and the Access CSM Program are useful tools to college-bound students already taking the next step in education. Ms. Campbell’s belief that “this has the potential to expand to other high schools and impact how we see college,” could perhaps come to fulfillment in the near future.
In an attempt to alleviate the impending weights of debt, the Access CSM Program is, for the most part, successful practically as it was hypothetically. Its success at La Plata could not only allow its application in other schools, but can also diversify the types of classes being available. Although technology reliant, the program deals with the issues of transportation to classes and can improve the transition between high school and college.