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ACC spends $148K on videoconferencing tech

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Alpena Community College instructor Jim Berles teaches students Thursday during an Intermediate Algebra class. Berles had students in class in Alpena, but also taught students videoconferencing from Atlanta Community Schools and Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools.

ALPENA — Alpena Community College is expanding its videoconferencing availability to local schools and health centers.

The ACC Board of Trustees on Thursday accepted a bid not to exceed $148,250 from CDWG in Chicago to purchase 18 Cisco videoconferencing delivery systems.

The college will pay 15% of the cost and the remaining 85% will be reimbursed through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant the college received in the summer.

The $500,000, three-year grant is meant to help the college implement a telemedicine project to address the opioid epidemic.

The 18 systems will be installed at regional schools and health centers. A system will also be installed at the ACC campuses in Alpena and Oscoda.

Different health centers, including Thunder Bay Community Health Service, Alcona Health Center, and Catholic Human Services, will have the systems installed to help with combating the opioid epidemic, which ACC President Don MacMaster said is a serious issue.

“It’s more serious than I realized,” MacMaster said.

Dawn Stone, dean of workforce development, said in the summer that ACC is working to figure out how distance learning can help the opioid epidemic by reaching out to partners and talking about what those partners need.

The college hopes students participating in classes will not be elsewhere and tempted to use opioids. The health centers often use teleconferencing equipment to connect patients to health care professionals who are working remotely.

The videoconferencing systems allow instructors to communicate with students at remote sites during class. Other uses include having new student orientation at remote sites, academic advising, guest speakers, projects, and others.

“This equipment will have dual purpose,” MacMaster said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.

In other business

The Alpena Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday also:

∫ heard that Kathryn Blumenthal was hired as an office assistant for Strengthening Institutions Programs Grant and workforce development, Lauren Mantlo was hired as an education support personnel learning technology technician, and Mary Eagan was hired as director of alumni relations.

∫ adopted a resolution of appreciation and emeritus status for retirees Lori Dziesinski and Yvonne White. Dziesinski worked at the college for 43 years and White worked at ACC for 31 years.

∫ scheduled its next regular meeting for 7 p.m. March 17.

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