hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

November 21, 2013

High schoolers get a jump on college

40 students from Haverhill High take free classes at UMass Lowell


“I think this class is easier and more difficult than high school classes at the same time,’’ she said, “less about writing essays on things such as syntax, and more on analyzing and understanding the text, and then being able to apply it. I had a general idea at the start about how this course would require more effort, but now that I’m taking it, I realize how challenging it can be.”

Garbec said she hasn’t finalized her college plans yet, but is leaning toward a school like UMass Amherst, which has a rural campus to give her a change from city life.

She’s uncertain what her major will be, but she does know that unlike most freshmen, she won’t have to take a first-year writing course because she will already have it on her transcript.

Here’s how the UMass Lowell courses work: The courses are free, a benefit to the Haverhill High students. The students and their professors meet in person only a few times during the semester. The remainder of the interaction is electronic. Professors record their lectures and post them online.

The class assignments are posted to Blackboard, an interactive software program, and the Haverhill High students work on the assignments at home or in the high school. Blackboard gives students and their professor the ability to communicate easily.

The Enginering I students visit the UMass Lowell campus four times during the semester, Keppler said. Each visit brings with it a test. For example, students are given an assignment to build a bridge with the highest possible load-to-weight ratio. On their trip to the UMass Lowell campus, they bring their bridges and test them on equipment there.

The same is true for assignments such as building wind turbines and generators. The finished project is tested at the college and students are given a new topic to work on.

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