Students taking EduKan online courses through Pratt Community College and the other EduKan colleges may soon not have to purchase textbooks for any online class.

Students taking EduKan online courses through Pratt Community College and the other EduKan colleges may soon not have to purchase textbooks for any online class.

A new EduKan pilot program has embedded the reading material within the online program for six classes making it unnecessary for students to buy textbooks for those classes, said PCC President William Wojciechowski.

Currently EduKan offers 88 programs, including the PCC online nursing courses, and the goal is to eventually offer all the material online so the students won’t have to buy any textbooks for online classes.

By embedding the reading material, it allows teachers to gather class material from several authors and incorporate it in one course without the student having to purchase several text books to get all the information, Wojciechowski said.

Another EduKan project will a math and history course in the fall entirely in Spanish with plans for two more courses in the future.

EduKan continues to be one of the best investments for Pratt Community College.

The college has just received a $60,000 return on investment check for their share of EduKan income, Wojciechowski said.

For 2011-2012 EduKan showed a growth rate of 17 percent. Leading that growth rate is the PCC on-line nursing program that continues to expand their on-line nursing options.

If the projected growth numbers hold, PCC could receive another return on investment check for $35,000 in December.

When EduKan started six community colleges invested $125,000 each. Over the years they have all received investment checks that covered that initial investment plus much more over and above that investment.

The college has received about three times their initial investment, said Kent Adams, PCC vice president of finance and operations.

A new EduKan project in the works will put all of the reading material on-line so students will not have to purchase books for on-line classes and reduce costs for PCC.

Also in the EduKan works are four courses offered completely in Spanish.

The six colleges in EduKan were PCC, Barton, Colby, Dodge City, Garden City and Seward.

The growth of the nursing program at PCC has led EduKan growth but it has also come very fast and the entire program has not grown at the same rate.

The rapid growth and the necessary staff reductions because of funding issues have strained student-customer service and generated faculty-employee frustrations during the past year, said Jim Stratford, PCC vice president for instruction.

Challenges with rapid growth in any business are not unusual and the college is addressing the issues to keep the quality of education high in the nursing program.

The college continues to perform at the top of the state with 100 percent job placement, the most diverse nursing program options, consistently high percentages for NCLEX-P.N. and NCLEX-R.N. examination first time pass rates as well as employer satisfaction, said Stratford who presented a report card on nine areas in the nursing program.

As the largest nursing program in the state, PCC’s pass rates consistently rank No. 1 in the state for quality student learning outcomes, Stratford said.

However, with the rapid growth in the nursing program some areas need improvement. Stratford said he wanted to see improvements in operating efficiency and service to students. Clinicals sometimes have to be canceled because some instructors work for other employers and have to change their schedules for them and that issue needs to be addressed.

Improvements need to be made in communication and coordination with college support services. Also improvement in response is desired to correct problems brought to light from the nursing faculty.

Some students are dissatisfied with some program and college operations especially the difference between facilities at the Winfield site and the Pratt site. Many students feel they don’t get the same access as the Pratt students for the human patient simulators. Plus there are other issues with the Winfield facilities. The college is determined to take action to solve these matters and make all elements of the program the best in the state.

“We must aggressively address these issues,” Stratford said.

Funding for the nursing program and the rest of the programs for the next school year are just now getting started.

Financial planning for the 2012-2013 school year has gotten off to a late start because the Kansas Legislature was late in getting a budget settled.

The Kansas Board of Regents will meet Thursday, June 21 to approve the distribution of state funding.

The funding outlook for this year looks good in part because of the higher level of funding for technical education programs including nursing, automotive tech and electrical power technology, Ag power and business technology Wojciechowski said.

“This is the first time in over three years we have seen some increase in funding,” Wojciechowski said.