KC piloting new online GED preparation program

Kim Green - Kishwaukee College Adult Education

The Adult Education and Transition Programs (AETP) Division at Kishwaukee College is offering a new, free format for community residents to prepare for their GED: i-Pathways.

Tricia Wagner, Director of Adult Education at Kishwaukee, stated, “One of the biggest barriers facing community residents who want to receive a GED is transportation. More students also tell us they are interested in using technology. The i-Pathways program is an online program that allows students to use and develop their digital skills and offers the convenience of preparing for the GED tests from a personal computer. We are connecting with libraries throughout our district along with the Illinois workNet Center and Partners for Employment to explore ways to help students access i-Pathways.”

Kim Green, the instructor for the new i-Pathways program, explained, “This program is perfect for students who are in our district but live in the more rural areas or in communities in which we do not offer a class site. Because the i-Pathways program is online, students who are attending classes can also use it to review materials and gives them extra resources to use as they prepare for their GED tests. It’s a win-win program for members of our community who want to complete a GED.”

The GED consists of five testing areas: writing, social studies, science, mathematics, and reading. In Illinois, the Constitution test must also be passed to receive the Illinois High School Equivalency (GED) Certificate. Kishwaukee College Adult Education offers free GED preparation classes at a variety of days and times at sites throughout the Kishwaukee College district. The classes allow students to work on the GED content areas with the assistance of an instructor.

The Adult Education department currently offers GED preparation in a variety of formats, most notably the GED Express class, which condenses the test preparation into a fast-paced two-week formula that includes official GED testing. The i-Pathways class will provide another avenue for those students who would like to prepare for the GED tests at a distance.

Similar to the traditional face-to-face classes, i-Pathways is a self-paced program so students cover the content in a way that is comfortable to them. “The i-Pathways program is not a GED testing program. It is a GED preparation program,” added Wagner. “The students would still need to access official GED testing through Kishwaukee College.”

Due to the curriculum level that is included in the i-Pathways, students need to demonstrate a 10th grade reading equivalency to participate in the program. Students must also attend a mandatory orientation class where they can talk about the GED, learn about the i-Pathways program, and receive access to the system. “The orientation gives me an opportunity to meet and make a connection with the students,” explained Green. “And it will allow students to visit the i-Pathways site with me there to help with navigation or procedure questions they may have.” The first orientation class is scheduled for March 19. Once enrolled in the class, the Green will be actively involved to monitor student progress and offer feedback. She will be available to answer student questions via email and scheduled online chat times.

Students who are interested in participating in i-Pathways after the initial orientation will be accepted into the program by meeting with Green and going through the orientation via Skype, the free online video chat program. The i-Pathways program will have an open admission policy, meaning students may join the i-Pathways program at any time. A “browser test” is available on the i-Pathways website to make certain that a computer meets the system requirements necessary to run the i-Pathways program.

Wagner said, “The state of Illinois developed the i-Pathways program and it has now been adapted by six other states in the U.S. – Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Washington. We are excited to be implementing a program for our district residents that has proven successful for many others and has provided them with the connection they needed to access GED preparation.”

Green added, “We have been receiving phone calls for a couple of years from area residents who are interested in having an online GED preparation option. I hope community members are as excited as we are to offer i-Pathways! I think it will be successful and help more of our area residents complete their GED in a simple and convenient format!”

For more information on the new i-Pathways GED preparation program at Kishwaukee College, contact Kim Green at 815-825-2086, ext. 5200, or at kim.green@kishwaukeecollege.edu. For more information on the i-Pathways Program, visit www.i-pathways.org.

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