FDTC Offers The Cutting Edge Of Higher Education

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At Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), there are many options for students to take curriculum and continuing education courses . . . from the traditional classroom to cyberspace.  In fact, students can now complete entire degrees/diplomas/certificates or upgrade job skills without having to sit in a traditional classroom. Through distance learning and online courses, FDTC offers students a variety of non-traditional ways to learn both on and off campus.

Since being founded 50 years ago, FDTC has had as its mission to make higher education more accessible to Pee Dee area residents. In fact, FDTC was the first college in the state to offer complete programs via the Internet. To help make learning easier and more convenient, FDTC has interactive, televised classes at locations away from campus and online courses.

“FDTC can cater to almost any student need,” said FDTC President Dr. Ben Dillard. “With our cutting-edge classroom technology, we can provide students at a remote location with an exciting and fun learning environment. Our online programs are top-notch with instructors based throughout North America.”

Televised classes are best for students who want to avoid commuting to FDTC’s main campus. Students at FDTC’s sites in Hartsville, Lake City and Mullins can participate in classes on the main campus. These classes allow students to communicate with the instructor on the main campus, as well as with students located at other remote sites.

“The fact is that you will be in a room that has large TV screens,” said Pat Sowell, Director of Distance Learning. “Your instructor may or may not be in the room with you. You’ll be able to see the instructor, talk to the instructor and interact with the instructor even if they are 26 miles away. It’s not like taking a correspondence course. You can actually interact with your instructor during the class.”

However, for some students, online courses may be the way to go. Rarely do online classes require regular class attendance. Some students may have to go to a supervised midterm test, final exam or a weekly lab. Students attend by logging into class from the comfort of their own home or work place. Assignments, lectures, study notes and other course materials are displayed on the web, and they’re all within reach of the student at the click of a mouse.

“Since there is not a scheduled time to log in, students can put their kids to bed at night and then go do their course work when it’s quiet. They can also send their kids off to school and do their work whenever it is convenient for them,” said Lamar Younginer, Director of the Online College. “Some students have done classwork during their lunch break while at work. They can close the door, go to an office with a computer in it, sit down, log in and work on their coursework.”

FDTC was the first college in the state to offer online courses 14 years ago and now has more than 120 courses via the Internet. Financial aid is available for online courses. If you attend courses on campus, you can still be enrolled in online classes as long as you are not taking the same class twice. Books for online courses are the same as those for courses on campus. FDTC uses its own instructors to teach online courses, but there are a few classes that are taught by instructors based in Florida, Virginia, Texas, Washington, North Carolina and even Canada. Students will have access to educational knowledge from all across North America.

Current Online Programs

• Associate in Arts

• Associate in Criminal Justice Technology

• Associate in Leadership and Management

• Associate in Marketing

• Associate in Management

• Associate in Robotics Production

• Certificate in Accounting

• Certificate in International Business

• Certificate in Management

• Certificate in Robotics Assembly Technician

Students submit assignments through e-mail or file transfer. To participate in class usually requires a response to a discussion board question. An instructor and fellow students can also see the question.  Assignments do have deadlines, but students can complete them at any time of the day or night as long as the deadline is met. You must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to participate in online classes.

So whether you’re a dual enrollment student in high school, a freshman attending a higher education institution for the first time, or a parent who has a job, FDTC has a way for students to get an education that best fits their schedule. All you need to do is log on to www.fdtc.edu and find out what program meets your higher education goals. FDTC isn’t only your most affordable choice for higher education; it’s also the most convenient.

Hunter Thomas

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