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Rhodes State Launches New Mobile Lab, Rhodes in Motion

In a push to reach more communities with opportunities in education, Rhodes State College launched “Rhodes in Motion” a mobile lab built using funds from a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) Grant was awarded to the College as a two-year commitment with a priority to implement safe and effective instructional delivery models that will enable safe in-person learning and expand remote learning opportunities.

The College will reach students where they are by using the 39-foot, two-slide-out motor coach education experience that includes high-end technology and 10 work/lab stations. It is equipped to host classes and labs for science, technology, and popular education courses. 

“The IREPO grant will enable Rhodes State College to bring this lab on wheels directly to high schools to expand our presence in rural communities in our service region,” said Angela Heaton, Dean of Health Science and Public Service at Rhodes State College. “Rhodes in Motion is equipped to host classes and laboratories for science and technology courses, particularly in the field of Agriculture Technology.”

As the top strategy to address educational needs in rural communities, Rhodes in Motion will engage students who cannot or choose not to come to campus and need courses with campus laboratories or who learn best by face-to-face interactive courses. The goal is to serve 260 to 1,300 traditional, dual-enrolled, youth, adult, and workforce students in their own communities.

“Rhodes in Motion offers a unique learning experience with the highest level of technology in Agriculture, Engineering and Healthcare. Our ultimate goal with Rhodes in Motion is to provide students, industry employees and local community members with hands on learning experiences right at home,” said Danielle Banks, Project Director, Institutional Resilience & Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity.

“We strive to bring Rhodes in Motion to school parking lots, rural Ohio farms or even local businesses. Rhodes in Motion will allow students of all walks of life to have the ability to learn new skills in a mobile environment without compromising the level of technology provided,” Banks added.

In addition to the mobile laboratory, the grant will allow the College to offer additional laptop/hotspot distribution to address the needs of qualified students who lack the technology/connectivity to participate in online courses.  Rhodes hopes to serve at least 300 students over two years with laptops and hotspots. Additionally, grant funding will serve to upgrade ten Rhodes classrooms with Hyflex technology, which meet the needs of students enrolled in online classes, who want the ability to interact with their instructor and peers in real-time. Hyflex technology will serve approximately 2,000 students per semester.

For more information, contact Ann Best at best.a@rhodesstate.edu.