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PDCCC proctoring service eases burdens

By Mary Ellen Gleason

Special to the News-Herald

Taking online college classes and accessing proctoring services go hand in hand for many university students.

The Paul D. Camp Community College Testing Center offers proctoring services to PDCCC graduates, as well as college students within the community who are enrolled in four-year colleges.

Olivia Walker, a graduate of the PDC nursing program, and Jake Doiron, a student at Virginia Tech, are utilizing these services.

After graduating in 2015 from the PDCCC nursing program, Walker began her nursing career at Sentara Obici Hospital and later transferred to the Courtland Health and Rehabilitation Center.

She is currently enrolled in the Western Governor’s University bachelor’s degree program in nursing, while working at the Rehab Center.

Walker’s interest is in nursing informatics, a relatively new field combining technology and clinical nursing.

PDCCC and the Virginia Community College System have a number of articulation agreements with other colleges and universities. These agreements allow students who have earned certain associate degrees to transfer from Virginia community colleges to senior institutions with little or no loss of credits.

The articulation agreement with Western Governor’s University is specific to nursing graduates. Other articulations include Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, James Madison University, and many other colleges and programs.

Western Governor’s University derived its name from 19 U.S. governors who came together in 1995 to create a distance learning university focused on “learning and not time,” according to its website, making it the choice for many people with jobs and families who are looking for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in their field without the travel and deadlines.

According to Walker, WGU assigns a program mentor who is discipline-specific. Her program mentor is a nurse. Other program mentors have degrees and experience in the discipline they support.

Walker said, “My WGU program mentor has been especially helpful. She not only helps me with the content of my classes, but the technology required for online classes.”

Jake Doiron is a Virginia Tech student majoring in mining engineering. He has enrolled in an online math course on differential equations through Northern Virginia Community College but lives in the service area of Paul D. Camp. Taking online courses in the summer helps to lighten his course load in the fall and spring.

“The online math course through NVCC offers a significantly lower tuition rate,” he said. Students would pay more at a four-year college.

NVCC operates an Extended Learning Institute that provides flexible online education in which students can take either 8-week or 16-week classes. Students taking these courses within Virginia can access proctoring services for their courses at the nearest community college.

Having access to proctoring services at the nearest community college provides minimal travel time, free proctoring, and a prepared testing environment that increases the allures of online classes.

For students like Doiron, his academic schedule is lightened, the tuition costs are appealing, and the proctoring proximity is convenient. For university students like Walker, she can keep in touch with nursing faculty, receiving encouragement from the environment where she began her career.

She also has received support for some of her submissions requiring more complex technology from PDCCC technology staff. For these students, they find testing support and encouragement for their online classes right around the corner at their community college.

For more information, contact Mary Ellen Gleason, who also serves as the Franklin Campus Testing Administrator, at mgleason@pdc.edu.