Elected officials, executives and graduates of Florida A&M University’s Developmental Research School gathered with President Elmira Mangum and FAMU Vice President for Research Timothy Moore, Wednesday, in the school’s gymnasium to announce the launch of a new online course initiative for students.
The online course initiative is set to target minority high school students in order to improve test scores and better prepare students for college. The initiative is the first of its kind, providing online course offerings to students of color.
FAMU DRS, has partnered up with the University of Phoenix and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to train instructors in online learning to boost online course offerings for students.
Students will be allowed to access required online courses through the University of Phoenix. The funding for this program will be supported through scholarships provided by the University of Phoenix.
Mayor Andrew Gillum expressed that he is behind the online course initiative program.
“When you think about the challenges that black students face in making sure they are equipped with the knowledge and tools to be competitive in a globalizing economy it is only appropriate that we try out the best and the brightest and the newest of technology when it comes to research,” Gillum said.
FAMU will serve as the first public HBCU to utilize the joint initiative. The partnership is geared toward identifying new teaching methods.
President Elmira Mangum shared a college readiness statistic by the ACT that only 25 percent of high school graduates meet the College Readiness Benchmark in English, Math, Science and reading; 56 percent meet the Reading Benchmark, 46 percent in math and just 31 percent in science.
Statistic also show only five percent of African-American students meet all of the testing benchmarks versus the 42 percent of Asian-American students.
“Being better prepared academically improves the student’s chances of completing that degree and that college readiness can be reproduce by more invasive types of techniques hence online learning, online education and online tools that we are talking about here,” Mangum said.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, explained the project will be tested on two classes in the school’s high school, middle school and elementary school. The University of Phoenix is set to revisit DRS in the next two weeks to start on the project.
Byron Jones, CFO of the University of Phoenix, express that a lot is being invested in starting up the online course initiative program.
“We have the resources to make an impact,” Jones said.
Online classes may begin as early as spring semester depending on when the curriculum is designed.