COTC Awarded $99,000 from Facebook to Enhance Remote Learning


Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), a leader in career-based technical education and transfer degrees, is once again expanding critically needed access to higher education for central Ohioans. The two-year college has been awarded $99,000 from Facebook to create a one-button digital studio and smart classroom at its Newark campus and complementary smart classrooms at its three extended campus locations in Coshocton, Mount Vernon and Pataskala.

COTC plans to implement the smart classroom technology in time for its spring semester, which begins on January 11.

Benefits for area students With a dedicated, technologically enhanced remote-learning classroom at each campus, COTC can quickly begin bridging the technology gaps that currently exist as a barrier to success for some students. These gaps, which include lack of reliable Wi-Fi for students in rural settings as well as inadequate access to personal technology, were recently thrown into stark relief as the college moved to mostly remote learning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Should the effects of the pandemic continue through the winter, COTC students will immediately benefit from access to the smart classrooms’ enhanced remote-learning capabilities.

But the long-term benefits to area students will extend far beyond COVID-19, noted COTC President John M. Berry, PhD. As more courses are offered through dedicated remote-learning spaces at COTC’s extended campuses, access to higher educational opportunities for all local citizens will significantly increase. Through Facebook’s support, COTC will begin to level the playing field for people and communities with challenges ranging from educational accessibility and job loss to childcare issues.

“COTC is committed to supporting student success by meeting students where they are in both academic skills and life situations,” said Berry. “We know that students experience transportation challenges and that many adult learners need flexible, close-to-home options because of job or family responsibilities. With this Facebook gift, COTC will bring STEM-based education that leads to in-demand careers to an even broader population in our communities. Our thanks to Facebook for their generous support of this important Ed Tech initiative.”

The integration of the one-button studio, planned for late spring 2021, will further expand COTC’s digital learning framework by allowing faculty, staff, students and community members to design a wide range of academic, professional advancement or entrepreneurial digital experiences. Featuring a soundproof podcast room and video studio space with adjustable microphones, lighting and green screen, the studio

will utilize a simple “one-button” hardware and software combination that will walk nontechnical users through the process from beginning to end. Additionally, students and faculty with COTC’s digital media design technology program will use the studio’s high-end capabilities to connect with employers in designing promotional and real-world projects.

“Our mission at Facebook is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. This investment at Central Ohio Technical College illustrates how we work with our community partners to bring that mission to life in a meaningful way,” said Amber Tillman, community development regional manager at Facebook. “Since we broke ground in New Albany in 2017, Ohio has been our home. Through partnerships with organizations like COTC and through our Community Action Grant program, we’re proud to assist with projects that will have direct benefits to our community.”

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.