FMCC’s online courses booming

While Ron Blankenbaker tested near the top for the written part of the civil service exam to beco


While Ron Blankenbaker tested near the top for the written part of the civil service exam to become a clerical typist, he couldn’t pass the typing part. That is until he took the keyboarding course offered through Fulton Montgomery Community College’s online continuing education program.

Blankenbaker is a senior typist and receptionist at FMCC’s Continuing Education and Business and Industry Center in downtown Amsterdam.

“My typing went from 25 words per minute to around 45,” he said. “I was able to pass my test and get a job.”

The college has expanded its online continuing education program and is now offering 400 different non-credit courses.

“We’ve had quite a bit of call for online courses,” FMCC workforce development specialist Mark Retersdorf said. “They give the person the opportunity to work at their own pace and on their own time that is convenient for them.”

The college’s Continuing Education and Business and Industry Center has contracted with Education to Go (Ed2Go) to provide the noncredit online courses. Ed2Go also provides the service to other small area colleges, including Empire State College and SUNY-Cobleskill.

For a small college or university, the partnering with Ed2Go expands the institution’s course offerings.

“It gives a variety of courses that we may not offer on site at the campus,” Retersdorf said.

Ed2Go also offers professional development courses that allow small companies to train their employees on their own time.

For his keyboarding course, Blankenbaker said, he took two classes per week and practiced every day. There was a weekly quiz and the course came with an online text in PDF format that could be printed out or downloaded to the computer.

“It even included a history of the keyboard and the typing tutorial was downloaded to my computer so I can use it any time,” he said.

Blankenbaker said he wants to take a course in Microsoft Excel and Access next.

Courses typically cost $109.

Retersdorf said students who take advantage of the courses range in age from mid-20s to 70s and are a wide cross-section of people.

He said the most popular courses are computer learning courses, such as keyboarding, Microsoft programs and Web site development. But there are a wide variety of beneficial courses from languages to grant writing, even learning to become a veterinary assistant, he said.

Retersdorf said a person doesn’t have to be enrolled in FMCC to take an online course through the Ed2Go program. Courses begin almost every month and run for about six weeks.

The Continuing Education and Business and Industry Center offers on-site training for businesses, including certification courses in forklift operation, which is beneficial for both the Target Distribution Center in Fonda and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Fulton County.

Retersdorf said the college is now looking to expand the online courses further to offer certificate programs in fields such as OSHA safety.

For more information on FMCC’s continuing education online courses, visit the Web site

Categories: Schenectady County

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