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UMR teams with Google for high-tech, faster pace health science pilot program

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- There's a new partnership between University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) and Google for students interested in the school's heath science degree.

UMR's newest pilot program, called NXT GEN MED, aims to get students into the workforce sooner than a traditional four-year degree.

"Well, this is an exciting, innovative approach to a college education that is going to be informed by the disruptions that we've been experiencing," said UMR's Chancellor Lori Carrell.

What the Chancellor is referring to, is the challenges that distance learning created for students and educators this past year.

UMR is teaming up with Google for its tech expertise to create a high-tech platform for students and teachers.

"So the platform itself is a technology tool that is designed to engage the students from the pre-enrollment through employment and everything in between while they are in college," Carrell said. "And it will include gamification, badging, virtual assistance, digital learning portfolios and more."

The online platform will be designed in a way that will be functional on all types of laptops, allowing for tech equality.

"The University of Minnesota Rochester will be piloting the platform using our health sciences degree for undergraduate and doing that at in an accelerated, year-round fashion," Carrell said.

The program would be completed in seven terms rather than the traditional eight. And because it's year round, students could complete their degree in just over 2 years, allowing students to enter the workforce sooner.

"The sooner that they can be employed, the sooner that they can be earning, and that can be a real economic lift," Carrell said.

UMR will be releasing more details about the program on August 2.

The program is set to be launched in the summer of 2022 for 50 students in the first year. The goal is to add more students in subsequent years.

Sarah Gannon

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