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Good news for the future of Crook County - Central Oregonian

April 7, 2012
Crook County High School

The recent announcement that individuals will be able to earn a Masters in Business Administration without leaving Prineville is welcome news.

For years it looked like it would be impossible to get any kind of college class in town, let alone a degree.

However, now that the COCC Crook County Open Campus facility is open, there is an increasing opportunity for students to further their education without leaving town.

The Masters in Business Administration will be a distance-delivered program streamed over live, interactive video to the campus building from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. The program, which is set to begin in the fall of 2012, will provide students with a completed degree by the beginning of 2014.

“From here, who knows where we go in terms of other partnerships,” said Crook County School Board member Scott Cooper. “It potentially opens the door to lots more opportunities — whether they be undergraduate coursework or graduate coursework.”

The new degree program is welcome news for Crook County. It not only provides adults who have jobs in the community an opportunity to better their education, it also may become a blueprint for further educational opportunity.

“I think it shows the next wave of education, where education is going to be much more collaborative between institutions and agencies,” said Crook County Open Campus Coordinator Jeff Papke.

The program has been implemented because of community demand and interest.

With technology making it ever easier to take courses from a distance, the Crook County Open Campus facility provides the opportunity for course work to be tailored to the needs of both the community and individual.

“We are really focusing on asking the students what they need to learn, versus the institution saying ‘These are the classes/degrees you should take,’” Papke said.

With the county continuing to work to diversify its economic base, Crook County Open Campus is one more tool that should help attract new business as well as guarantee a qualified and highly-trained workforce.

Now that the facility and the technology are in place for long-distance learning to take place in Prineville, it is up to the residents of Crook County to demand the classes necessary to bring the county and the community into the 21st century.

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