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  • 1. The Chronicle-News Trinidad, Colorado Thursday, October 2, 2014 Page 3 EDUCATION KNOWLEDGE QUEST Trinidad State on-line learner sets lofty goals By Margaret Sanderson Special to The Chronicle-News After raising her four children, Sandra Blackmon returned to school to work to-ward a dream she has had since she was eight years old. That year she got a micro-scope for Christmas. It never left my hand for two years, said Blackmon. She looked at everything she could get her hands on from frog legs, to grasshoppers, to her broth-ers blood. Since that time, she has wanted to help animals. Though 55 years old, she still wants to be a veterinarian. With the exception of one semester of college in 1982 (she dropped out when her daughter became ill), it had been 37 years since Blackmon had been in school. She completed her first two semesters at Adams State, but when she needed a mythology class that the university didnt offer, she was referred to Trinidad State. It would be her first on-line class. When she learned that the rest of the credits she needed to complete her Bach-elors degree were also available through Trinidad State and the Colorado Commu-nity College System, she opted to finish her studies on-line. She said some of her friends are afraid to go it alone on-line but Blackmon said she has found more support on-line than she did in the classroom. The second fall session of CCConline courses begins October 6. The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) consists of 13 community colleges and 35 campuses. Within that system are CCConline courses which enable students to study on a comput-er in the privacy, comfort and convenience of their own homes. These courses are espe-cially helpful in rural areas where transpor-tation needs may be challenging. The online option also allows students to create their own study schedules around busy work and personal lives. Because Blackmon cares for her disabled husband, along with a menagerie that in-cludes her old ferret, on-line courses work well for her. When she was on-campus in class, she was always worried about how things were going at home. Blackmon spends about 40 hours a week on her classes and finds she keeps up better with the on-line classes because the information she needs is always instantly accessible. Back in her on-campus days she said once she left the classroom, she had a tendency to forget about the class. She said she took an on-cam-pus algebra class and flunked it with a score of 23. How bad can it get? she asked. That experience nearly caused Blackmon to drop out of school and give up her dream. But she decided to try taking the course on-line and passed it with a B. Its really easy to get in touch with my instructors, Blackmon said. When she re-cently contacted her physics professor, he responded within two hours. She said her Interpersonal Communications professor often responds within ten minutes. I dont think shes ever off-line, commented Black-mon. Shes incredible! She has taken seven on-line classes so far and is currently taking interpersonal com-munications, chemistry and physics. If I dont understand a concept, I can review it over and over and even get a tutor if I need one, Blackmon said. Every class has a chat room and discussions. The instructors seem sincerely concerned about their students. Blackmon was worried about the labs, but lab packages are sent to the students and the lab technicians are very helpful. For Black-mon, taking exams on-line is easier for her than in a classroom because shes less dis-tracted and isnt wondering how the other students are doing. Although an on-line class costs a little more than the traditional on-site class, Blackmon feels it has been cheaper for her in the long run because she has no transpor-tation expenses. The one drawback she said was not having face-to-face exchanges, but there are so many plusses. In May of 2015 Blackmon will have earned her AAS (Associate of Applied Sci-ence) degree and most of her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. An avid life-long learner, she figures she will be 63 when she becomes a vet. The website provides a link to a list of available questions that may help one determine if taking online courses would be a good choice. It also offers a sample course which details examples of schedules, assignments, quizzes, and even how lab assignments work on-line. The ap-plication and registration processes can be completed on-line or at Trinidad State at 600 Prospect Street in Trinidad. Advisors can answer questions at 719-846-5557. Photo courtesy of TSJC An old upright piano creatively converted into a desk serves as Sandra Blackmons study area. Online courses at Trinidad State can be a perfect means by which any learner can further his or her education and quinch a thirst for knowledge and credentials. HOMECOMING ROYALTY The photos courtesy of Kendra VanMatre Hoehne homecoming court members Homecoming royalty members in pictures are L-R, F-B, Aspen Anderson, Vince Moltrer, Bailee Jones, Seth Silver, Megan Robins and Tyler Moltrer. COLORADO STUDENTS CEA sponsors Super School News to enhance public education Celebrated Rocky Mountain PBS program enters 35th year educating children in mass communications Special to The Chronicle-News DENVER Colorado educators have en-gaged the public throughout 2014 on ways that support and inspire students that cant be measured by a standardized test. First through the Free Our Teachers, Value Our Students movement and more recently with social media messages using #MoreTha-nAScoreCO. Now the Colorado Education Association will directly invest in a program thats helped thousands of kids across Colorado attain a more well-rounded educa-tion for decades. CEA will be the ex-clusive sponsor of the acclaimed Super School News educational out-reach program of Rocky Mountain PBS for the 2014-15 school year. The program officially kicked off today with an orien-tation for participating students and teachers at the Rocky Mountain PBS station in Denver. Participating schools in Colorado Springs and Pueblo also met today at the Pueblo PBS station, with another orientation scheduled next week at the Grand Junction sta-tion. Kerrie Dallman, CEA President (center), with Super School News volunteer co-chairs Ginger Tatic and Janell Hetrick. You are all more than a score, CEA President Kerrie Dallman told students at the Denver studio. Testing can be a valu-able measure of a childs academic growth and help a teacher improve professional practice. But in my mind, theres no doubt that many wonderful things happen in Colorado classrooms everyday that cant be measured by a standardized test. Super School News is one of those amazing education opportunities that might not translate into the statistical model of a quality education. But this pro-gram will give you real-world experience in a skill set youll use over a lifetime com-munications, Dallman continued. One day youll face a tough interview to get into a great college or land a fantastic job. This experience in Super School News will help you prepare for that moment. The award-winning mini television se-ries is written and illustrated by fifth and sixth grade students, who record their news segments at Rocky Mountain PBS stations. Super School News is designed to teach students about journalism and broadcast-ing, and hone other important skills such as compelling storytelling, creative writing and public speaking. Students also learn les-sons in collaboration and teamwork, han-dling stress, and gaining self-confidence. Each schools two-minute product runs three or four times on PBS and is given to the school to show in classrooms. About 70 schools are scheduled to participate this school year. One of the most gratifying parts of my job every year is launching a new season of Super School News, said Doug Price, CEO of Rocky Mountain PBS, at the orientation. Photo courtesy of CEA We are particularly pleased to have as our sponsor the Colorado Education Associa-tion. Clearly, this is a great fit for both our organizations as we are both dedicated to the well-being and education of Colorado kids. Many CEA members have participated in Super School News over the years as faculty advisors, and for some, their en-thusiasm for the program carried over into retirement. Several members of Jefferson Country Education Association-Retired helped out at todays event. The public speaking experience, and the presence these kids will develop is im-measurable, said Mike Cawthra, a retired JeffCo teacher who gave students tips today in annunciation and script delivery. I firm-ly believe Rocky Mountain PBS is one of the great gems of Colorado media in supporting the schools, with Super School News and all of the childrens programming.