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HCC serves up Course in a Box

August 24, 2000

HCC serves up Course in a Box



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


Hagerstown Community College students can thank the person who invented cardboard boxes later.

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The school has found another way to use the containers that could be considered the American staple for people on the go.

If Chinese food in a box, wine in a box or instant potatoes in a box weren't convenient enough, HCC is now offering a Course in a Box.

Michael Parsons, HCC's dean of instruction, said college officials were looking for creative ways to live up to one of its goals: "Learn anytime, anywhere." They decided on Course in a Box.

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This fall, the featured Course in a Box will be Introduction to Sociology, taught by Parsons. About 11 students have signed up for the three-credit course. Course in a Box is open to all students.

Students who take the course will pay a $75 deposit, then be handed a cardboard box filled with videotapes of class lectures and a CD-ROM containing Power Point presentations and other visual aides. The deposit will be refunded once the student has completed the class, Parsons said.

He said students can watch the lectures at home and finish the course according to their schedule, as long as the class is completed within 15 weeks.

"Whenever you pick up the box is when your course begins," Patti Friend, HCC's public relations specialist said.

Not only will it be more convenient for busy students, but it will also keep the attention of younger students, Parsons said.

"Today's learners are visual learners," Parsons said. "It's an exciting way to learn."

Parsons said students will keep in touch with him and other students by e-mail and through an Internet bulletin board made for the course. Students will also be required to hand in a videotaped presentation made either at home or in the school's Distance Learning Center.

"Realistically, I might see them in person only one time, but I will be talking with them," Parsons said.

HCC will offer the sociology Course in a Box in the spring semester, and then add Introduction to Education and Introduction of Business the following year.

"It's our great experiment," Parsons said. "I just believe we're on the cutting edge of learning."

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