The Adams State University Office of Title V Initiatives hosted open house events in Antonito, Fort Garland and San Luis, to demonstrate the success of the Caminos Cooperative Grant: Increasing Access to Education and Opportunity in the Upper Rio Grande Region.
The events were held June 23, 24, and July 1, respectively. Marcella Garcia, Title V Caminos project director, addressed the gatherings at each location thanking the communities and town leaders in the successful partnerships. “Through collaborative planning and research, we identified distance education as an effective path to increase access and opportunity for Hispanic and low-income students to support post-secondary degree completion.”
The Title V Initiatives Office collaborated with the Adams State Computing Services and the Academic Instructional Technology Center Offices to install and maintain the technology. The three rural communities were also crucial in the success of the project as they provided space for the Access Stations and have agreed to continue to maintain the equipment and keep the technology available for their communities when the grant ends in September, 2021. The Access Stations are available for free community use.
The main components of each Access Station include ten Chromebooks; a Smartboard display, a touch-sensitive, interactive display that allows the user to write on the screen and has the capability of accepting other devices; a desktop PC connected to the SmartBoard with Microsoft Office and other applications; a wireless printer that connects to the Chromebooks; a high-definition Huddle Cam Camera and room microphone, which are connected to the desktop PC – providing web conferencing for each site; and the Chromebooks have monitoring software which can track the Chromebooks, along with software that prevents malware and viruses.
Adams State Computing Services Matthew Chacon, IT professional, and Chris Olance, support services manager, installed and implemented all of the technology for the sites. In the final implementation phase, Alfonzo Velasquez, Title V designer and trainer, and Connor Johnson, Title V project specialist, have maintained equipment and done troubleshooting to get the Access Stations fully operational. “We are also training the three site representatives on the technology to prepare them for ownership,” Velasquez says.
The grant met or exceeded all its objectives including providing training to 188 faculty and staff in online pedagogy and course assessment, exceeding the target of 45; increased online enrollment from 391 to 615, exceeding their target of five percent. The target was met to develop tutoring, mentoring, academic advising, progress monitoring, and college success courses. The grant objective to increase by seven annually the number of online degrees awarded over the academic year had a target of 55 and an actual count of 61.
The grant also provides laptops for student check-out and increased tenfold the number of Inter-library loan articles borrowed by Adams State distance students and increased over seven-times the number of e-books accessed, from the start of the grant.
The Adams State Title V Initiatives was awarded the $3,178,389 grant in 2015 and received an additional year to meet objectives due to COVID.