Bowling Green State University Firelands students from Norwalk may not have to always commute to Huron if a pilot program to offer classes at Norwalk High works out.
Andrew Kurtz, associate dean for engagement and outreach, said two three-hour credit courses will be taught at Norwalk High next semester one in English and another in history.
"If everything goes OK this coming semester and both Norwalk schools and BGSU Firelands feel it is advantageous, hopefully we'll have a larger rollout of classes in the fall of '08," Kurtz said. "This is kind of a pilot program."
English 112, a freshman composition course, and History 206, a course on modern America, will start Jan. 7. The English course will be taught in a computer lab and the History course will be taught in the Fisher-Titus Learning Center, which is equipped with distance learning equipment.
English 112 will be taught from 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday with a teacher at Norwalk High. History 206 will be taught from 7 to 10 p.m. every Wednesday with the teacher switching between Norwalk High and the Firelands campus.
Kurtz said the advanced equipment available at Norwalk High makes it possible for the instructor to work with students in different classrooms.
"It's pretty easy to get used to after the first couple of sessions," he said.
For this initial effort, Kurtz said, the college contacted current students in the Norwalk area.
"We're sort of marketing this internally," he said. "When we do something like this, there are always some kinks to work out."
The English course already has 11 students enrolled, about half of the maximum enrollment. No students are signed up for the history course yet.
Kurtz said the college hopes to offer a wider variety of courses after the spring semester.
"The courses have to be consistent with what people want and need to take. The scheduling has to be consistent," he said, adding that the fall 2008 schedule should be decided by early March.
Kurtz said the college is trying to expand services to make it more convenient for residents in the three-county area it serves.
"We're in talks with a number of other communities to begin offering off-site classes in those communities," he said, but he could not release the names of the other communities yet.
Wayne Babcanec, Norwalk superintendent, is excited that Norwalk residents can take college courses without a commute.
"It's a win for Firelands and it's certainly a win for the Norwalk community," he said.
Babcanec said part of the impetus for bringing Firelands courses to Norwalk came from the comprehensive plan the city developed.
"One of the goals was to bring higher education classes to Norwalk and I wholeheartedly concur with that goal. In the future I hope we can expand our offerings at Norwalk," he said. "That is a convenience to the community and it's a positive step."
Questions about enrolling in any BGSU Firelands classes can be directed to the admissions office at (419) 433-5560 or (800) 322-4787.