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Bruce Colston
Indiana University

Dennis McElhoe
Purdue University

Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indiana University and Purdue University team up to help rural high school students

Universities collaborate to offer online college credit courses

May 6, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Hoosier high school students living in rural areas will have increased access to college credit courses this fall because of the collaborative efforts of Indiana University and Purdue University.

The two universities are working together to offer a pilot program that will include six online courses beginning fall semester, three from Purdue and three from IU. Purdue will offer courses in agronomy, computer science and sociology. IU-administered courses will include geological science, history and criminal justice.

At each high school where a student registers for a course, an on-site facilitator will be provided to assist the student in progressing through the course.

Daniel Callison

Daniel Callison

Print-Quality Photo

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for the two major academic research institutions in Indiana to combine their resources in technology and teaching to reach out to the rural high schools of the state and provide quality online instruction," said Daniel Callison, dean of the IU School of Continuing Studies. "We hope this project will be the foundation of a growing relationship in distance education between IU and Purdue for the good of young adult learners in our state."

By offering the courses online, IU and Purdue hope to extend the educational resources of their institutions to high school students -- particularly in rural areas -- who may not otherwise have access to them.

"The state's new curriculum requires schools to make both dual-credit and advanced placement courses available to students," said Bruce Colston, director of Indiana University High School. "These demands are difficult for some schools, particularly those in rural areas, to meet."

Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue vice provost for engagement, said students in rural areas should find several of the courses interesting.

"Purdue and IU also are committed to helping rural Indiana students become proficient in skills they can apply in everyday life," he said. "Students who take online courses in crop production or computer science programming, for instance, should find the courses quite handy."

Students taking advantage of this offer should investigate whether specific courses they take will count toward specific degree requirements at colleges they are considering attending, as well as ensure that their local school will approve the course as "dual credit."

The courses were selected by a task force composed of representatives from both universities and led by Mark Pagano, dean of Continuing Education and Conferences at Purdue. The group will convene again in the fall to evaluate the program's success.

To learn more about the Indiana University/Purdue University Rural Program, visit, or call IU's Bruce Colston at 800-334-1011or Purdue's Dennis McElhoe at 765-494-1434.